CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Collier jumps in to land striker Hopper

Wiltshire Times: Chippenham Town are hoping to tie up the signing of Luke Hopper Chippenham Town are hoping to tie up the signing of Luke Hopper

MARK Collier has his fingers crossed that Luke Hopper will gain international clearance in time to feature in Chippenham Town’s clash with Corby Town on Saturday.

The Bluebirds boss is hoping to tie up the signing of the 24-year-old former Swindon Supermarine and Hungerford Town man, who also had a spell at Hardenhuish Park back in 2007, after Hopper spent the majority of last year playing in Australia for Danedong Thunder and South Melbourne.

Collier had the striker at his disposal during his time in charge of Marine and reckons he will reunite with an even better player than the one he managed before.

“Luke wasn’t at his fittest back when he was at Supermarine and I think that he’d admit that but he’s come back from Australia in really impressive shape,” said Collier.

“He can play as a striker, just off the front man and also out wide, so he should be another good addition.

“Because he’s been playing in Australia, we’ve had to put in for international clearance and that can take up to 30 days sometimes. But because the deadline’s passed for all of the pro clubs and he’s already played here, hopefully it shouldn’t take that long.

“Hopefully he can be involved this weekend – but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Collier also confirmed that midfielder Jake Simpson, who was left out of his squad for last week’s victories against Weymouth and St Neots Town for breaching club discipline, was back in contention for last weekend’s postponed trip to Arlesey Town.

Forward Lloyd Macklin parted company with the club last Thursday after also being dropped but youngster Simpson remains a part of the manager’s plans.

He said: “Lloyd has gone now but Jake’s situation was separate from that. He came to the game against St Neots last week and we had a good chat there. He understands that he’s got to work hard now and he was going to be involved at Arlesey.”

While frustrated that his side weren’t given the chance to build on last week’s back-to-back home wins, Collier admits the Arlesey postponement may have been a blessing in disguise.

“Ben John’s partner went into labour, so we would have been without him, and Lee Phillips was also feeling his hamstring a bit and wouldn’t have played – I think those two were glad the game was off,” he added.

“Greg Tindle was a bit stiff too, although he would have been fine to play.

“We’re trying to push through a scan for Joe McClennan on his calf problem but Iain Harvey is still the main absentee at the moment.

“We were looking to keep our momentum going last weekend and we thought it was a game we could pick up points in but it wasn’t to be.”

Collier also revealed that he won’t be pursuing the signature of Matt Bulman after the goalkeeper was released from his contract at Forest Green Rovers.

The 27-year-old, who is now a free agent, was brought in on a month’s loan by the Bluebirds chief last November but with Ben John and Kent Kauppinen already at his disposal, Collier isn’t looking to snap up a third keeper.

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