MANAGER Mark Collier has told his Chippenham Town troops “the hard work starts now” as they report for their first training session as a National League side tonight.

Collier will run the rule over the Bluebirds squad at the start of their summer pre-season schedule as he looks to get them as best prepared as possible for life at a new level.

The Town boss hopes his players have enjoyed basking in the glory of their memorable Southern League Premier Division title triumph during their break, but says the time for celebrating is over.

“Once we’re all back together again it will really start to feel like we are a National League club,” said Collier.

“I want the players to look forward to that and embrace it as we’ve done particularly well but the glory has now passed and we need to get down to the hard work of making sure we are competitive in the new division.

“We are fully aware of what is ahead of us and from this moment, everything will be geared up towards August 5.

“Pre-season for us is constructive not destructive and we have to make sure we look after people as there will be different levels of fitness and we understand that.

“Generally, the players are a fit bunch.

“A lot of them do their own thing and go to the gym nowadays so I expect them to come back in some kind of shape.

“We are looking forward to getting the group back together and we will slowly build ourselves towards the first game of the season.”

Collier has made three new signings in the off-season and is hopeful of bringing in further new faces before the competitive campaign begins on August 5.

He will case his eye over prospective recruits as early as this evening, although any potential deals are far from being rubber-stamped at this stage.

“I have got four or five players that have contacted me that have asked to come along. They are coming to have a look at us and we are going to have a look at them as well,” said Collier.

“I would expect about 25 players to be there, of which, 18 or 19 will be from last year’s squad.

“When it comes to new signings, we will just wait and see on it. I would like to add to the squad if we can but I am certainly not in a panic to do it.

“There is always a massive fall-out from the start of pre-season up until the end of July due to players having a little look at different clubs.

“We may find ourselves in that situation where players get to pre-season and have had offers from a few clubs and think: ‘Where am I going to get game time?’ “I am quite happy to take my time with it, I don’t think there is any panic.”