MELKSHAM Town boss Kieran Baggs says ensuring his side prepare properly for the Southern League will prove pivotal to how their season plays out.

With a pre-season plan featuring friendlies against Swindon Town, Bristol Rovers and Chippenham Town as well as others, Baggs says he is looking forward to welcoming his troops to pre-season training on Wednesday night.

The Melksham manager has made minimal changes to his playing squad from last year’s promotion-winning side, as Kyle Phillips, John Davies, Mark Wall and Omar Simpson joined, while Rob Brown, Dan Demkiv and Chris Allen opted to leave the INFiLED Stadium over the summer.

“Luckily I think out of the squad of 18, I think 10 of the players all come and see me at my strength and conditioning facility,” he said.

“It’s a massive advantage for me because it means I can keep an eye on them over the off season so I’ve been able to monitor them.

“It’s a really good advantage for Melksham Town to have and you probably don’t get that until you get to the Football League.

“We’ll be going to Bath University at the weekend too to just make sure that we do everything as professional as possible and set a tone for what we are trying to achieve this season.

“Taking the step up to the Southern League is going to be difficult so we need to make sure the basic things that we can take care of, like fitness, are done at the highest standard possible.

“I just want to make sure the boys are prepared for the first game of the season, which is the fist game for us in the Southern League.”

With a trio of new arrivals, Baggs also says pre-season is the perfect chance to integrate them into the Melksham squad, which is a tight knit group after last year’s league success.

“We have recruited really well and I’m pleased with the boys who have joined,” he said.

“If you look at the calibre of player we have brought in, I think we have improved on the areas I was looking to improve.

“We are going to go back into the season fully fit and with some good transfers. I have an idea as to where they can play because I know them well.

“They have a good idea of where they are going to fit in.”