CHIPPENHAM Town manager Gary Horgan admitted he has mixed feelings ahead of the new National League South season beginning this weekend.

The Bluebirds are set to take on newly-promoted Aveley at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium on Saturday in their opening encounter of the 23/24 campaign.

Following a turbulent summer of arrivals and departures from north-west Wiltshire, Horgan believes his current crop is in an excellent position to go and hit the ground running having jelled and soaked up sufficient tactical knowledge throughout pre-season.

The Chippenham boss’ only frustration going into Saturday’s opener is that several of his new signings have suffered injuries and will be unavailable for lengthy periods of time.

Previewing Saturday's clash with Aveley, Horgan said: “It’s quite well known that we lost a number of players over the summer, and we’ve had to bed in a brand new group, giving them new ideas, and work on the things that we want to work on in terms of playing principles.

“In terms of that, we’re probably about where I thought we’d be, maybe even slightly further along.

“The only disappointment for me is that we haven’t got through pre-season unscathed without any injuries.

“Tom Owen-Evans has suffered a nasty sprain and some ligament damage in his ankle. We’re already a week down the line and that doesn't look like it’s going to heal any time soon.

“Luke Haines has a small hairline fracture in his leg, and Luke Spokes has been for an MRI scan. We’re likely to miss them for a couple of weeks at least, so that’s disappointing.

“But other than that, pre-season has gone quite well.”

Having been promoted out of the Isthmian League, Aveley will be something of an unknown quantity for Horgan’s men.

But the Chippenham boss says his players will be prepared for whatever comes, though, as they look to win on opening day for the first time in at least three seasons.

Horgan said: “It'll be the same as we did last year; we’ve got two games worth of footage on them.

“So we’ll prepare for them in detail, but for the most part it’s been about us during pre-season and what we wanted to do. We’ll have a real focus going into Saturday on us.

“We’ll look at them and review the footage on Thursday. We’ll do a presentation before the game on how we want to try and stop them playing.

“Having watched them, they’re a powerful side with lots of athleticism – certainly going forward – so it could make for a really entertaining game.”