MARK Collier has paid tribute to the tireless efforts and work of Chippenham Town’s volunteers in years gone by ahead of this weekend’s visit of Dulwich Hamlet – a fixture that will mark the club’s 100th anniversary of playing at Hardenhuish Park.

Founded in 1873, the club has called Hardenhuish Park – located in the centre of Chippenham – home since 1919.

Since the club’s arrival a century ago, vast improvements to the ground – particularly in recent years – have been made.

A new clubhouse was opened in 1979, floodlights were installed in 1986, and 1993 saw the Bluebirds erect a covered grandstand that seats 300 spectators.

In total, 3,000 fans can pack the ground – but the stadium’s record attendance was set in 1951 when 4,800 fans watched Chippenham United visit in the Western League.

More recently, the club has established itself at National League South – step two on the non-league ladder – following their promotion from the Southern Premier Division when registering a league record 103 points in the 2016-17 season.

Collier, who has been manager of the club’s first team since November 2013, paid tribute to everyone who has been involved at the club both past and present.

Collier said: “I’m a small part of the club, which has grown year-on-year. And it’s our intention to ensure that continues to happen.

“Crowds have gone up, the club has good history – we made it to Wembley – and we’re playing in the top division possible for us.

“It’s an advantage having the club in the town centre – the ground is traditional.

“Most venues now are way out of town, and we appreciate where we are.

“There have been some great games at Hardenhuish over the year.”

Dulwich Hamlet’s visit to Wiltshire this weekend highlights how far the club has come in recent seasons.

The Hamlet have attracted average crowds of 1,700 this season – and more than 2,000 turned up for the club’s recent home tie against Hungerford Town.

On the pitch, Collier doesn’t expect to welcome defensive pairing Will Richards and Rhys Tyler back into the squad as they continue to nurse respective injuries.

“Will Richards and Rhys Tyler are still missing. When you lose 50 per cent of your back four, it does cause concern,” added Collier.

“It will be good to get those two back, but I don’t think they will be for this weekend. But we have numbers and some quality on the bench that can come on and make a difference.

“Dulwich’s crowds at home show what we’re up against.”