AN EXTENSIVE injury list has forced Chippenham Town manager Mark Collier to target the loan transfer market in January.

Collier will be without Curtis McDonald, Callum Gunner, Yan Klukowski, Greg Tindle and Alex Ferguson for this weekend’s National League South clash away at play-off chasing Billericay Town.

Illness has also spread throughout the squad, meaning several players will be absent from training this week with a view to achieving full fitness for Saturday’s game.

Both setbacks have prompted Collier to exploit his Football League contacts with a view to attracting fresh legs to Hardenhuish Park – although negotiations over the festive season have proved difficult, with clubs keen not to depart with players during their own busy schedules.

Collier said: “We are looking to bring players in, but the bottom line is that they will only be players on loan.

“Most of the professional clubs want to keep their players over the Christmas period, so negotiations have only just started.

“We certainly need to strengthen the squad with the amount of injuries and illnesses we have.

“We are trying, but there is nothing concrete in place at this moment in time.”

The Bluebirds boss does not necessarily have control over what youngsters he can attract to play for Chippenham, revealing that striking loan deals can often be a long and drawn out process.

In Swindon Town’s case, Academy manager Alan McLoughlin in the first port of call before any possible negotiations can take place.

“Normally I’d speak to Swindon Town and say I’m looking for a left-back or a right-back and they will suggest names from what they have got,” said Collier.

“During Phil Brown’s time, he would recommend a player that he thought could do a job and likewise ones he thought couldn’t.

“That’s the way it works – I’ll ring up Alan McLoughlin and ask for a player in a position and they will tell me which ones are available.

“It’s then a case of doing my research, and that can prove to be a long exercise as we can’t afford to take a chance on a player because one person tells me that they’re decent.”

The injuries thrown in his direction means Collier is now down to the ‘bare bones’ of his squad, but that does not mean any potential loan deal will be reached in a rush.

The gap between U17s football and National League South can often serve as a reality check for aspiring players, and Collier admits not all deals can prove fruitful.

He said: “We’ve had some very good loan players. Swindon’s Scott Twine was particularly impressive and Jake Andrews from Bristol City was another.

“Jared Thompson and Brad House are others. But, we’ve also had some that have found things a step too far at this moment in time.

“It can be a steep learning curve.”