CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mark Collier believes matching his side’s pre-Christmas points tally over their fixtures in the first half of 2020 will ensure their survival in National League South.

The Bluebirds collected 23 points from their first 20 league fixtures but have since lost both of their post-Christmas contests.

Collier’s side were due to start their new year games at home to local rivals Bath City on January 1 sitting 18th in the table, and have 19 more league fixtures left on their schedule after that until the season ends in late April.

Chippenham collected 54 and 55 points in their previous two seasons in the second tier of non-league football for a pair of mid-table finishes.

However, Collier would simply accept a haul that is enough for them to beat the drop this term.

Collier said: “We need to get to that magical 45-point mark, really.

“The aim at the start of the season was to stay in the division.

“I went on record to say that I thought it would be the most difficult and challenging season since we have been in National League South due to the size of clubs that are in the division and the financial clout of the clubs we are up against.

“We are fully aware of how big the challenge is, and the second half of the season is as big a challenge as the first half was.

“If we can match that points tally and get another 23 to get to 46 points, you’d like to think that will be enough to keep us in the division.

“Our aim is to win as many games as we can and see where it takes us. As an absolute minimum, hopefully we can match the first half of the season over the second half.

“You need to win 12 to 14 games to stay in the division, and we need to make sure we do that over the coming months.”

Prior to their New Year’s Day battle with Bath, Chippenham had won just five of 22 league fixtures, although eight draws had also been registered.

Their nine defeats is also the fewest of any team in the bottom seven, so turning more draws into wins could well see the Bluebirds climb the table quickly.

“Some of those games we have drawn, we certainly should have won, but then there are always a couple that you can say you got lucky in,” said Collier.

“I think we have been competitive in every game. I don’t think we have been rolled over by anybody.

“Clearly we haven’t scored enough goals, so we know what we need to do there.

“We haven’t won enough games but if you can’t win then you try to draw as that will always help come the end of the season.

“There are some big clubs down the bottom so we know we have to fight tooth and nail for every single point, and we will be doing that.”

Chippenham travel to Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.