MELKSHAM Town boss Kieran Baggs expects his players to benefit greatly from the club’s first two pre-season games against Swindon Town and Bristol Rovers.

Baggs’ troops slipped to 5-2 and 6-0 losses against their Football League opposition on the two most recent weekends.

But competing against full-time professionals is something the Melksham manager wants to continue throughout his reign at the InfiLED Arena.

A hat-trick for Ryan Bennett plus a brace for Ellis Harrison and a further goal for Tom Nichols allowed Rovers to coast to a comfortable six-goal win on Saturday.

However the result meant little to Baggs, who was pleased to see some of Melksham’s younger players gain some valuable game time in front of a crowd north of 1,000.

He said: “The side Bristol Rovers sent down replicated their first team squad, and that’s just the way it is when they come to a club like Melksham for pre-season.

“The boys knew all about it, all you can do is enjoy the spectacle for what it is.

“We got some valuable minutes in the bag and it has helped us build for the start of the season.

“Those first two games (against Swindon and Bristol) we were expected to get beat. They are professionals footballers and they played against us with relative ease.

“We had a lot of youngsters coming on and playing for us which was pleasing.

“They came on in both fixtures and played well, it’s good to see Melksham producing young talent to come through the ranks and be granted a chance.

“Especially in these games that are so big for the club financially.”

With less than three weeks remaining until his side’s opening competitive game in Southern League West, Baggs is starting to develop an understanding for the most beneficial style of play for his men.

And the club’s two pre-season fixtures to date have gone a long way to helping him form a bond between his players on the pitch.

He said: “The gap in class and quality is expected because the opposition are training every day and it is their full-time job.

“It was great that we could see some of our new signings play and how they’re linking up.

“The pitch is looking spectacular and we’re all looking forward to that first game, where we can hopefully start brightly.

“It’s the chairman’s (Darren Perrin) contacts that allows these games to happen.

“It’s something I know all the fans look forward to coming to watch, and long may it continue.

“It’s a great day out for the fans and of huge benefit to the football club financially.”