RETAINING and adding to his current Bluebirds squad is the primary aim for Chippenham Town manager Gary Horgan in the weeks after landing his new job on a permanent basis.

Following a six-week spell in temporary charge of Chippenham which resulted in five wins and a National League South play-off semi-final exit to Ebbsfleet United, Horgan was handed the reins by chairman Neil Blackmore.

The 45-year-old has already started to set about stamping his own mark on the team ahead of what he hopes will be his first full term in the job.

Horgan is keen to see most of the group that secured Chippenham’s highest ever finish remain at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium, and he is confident that they will do so.

He said: “At the moment, my primary aim is to retain the current squad. I want to keep this squad together as much as I can.

“I’m pretty hopeful that we’ll be able to keep everybody. And then we’ll look to add to it, we’ll look to add some quality, and try to make us a better team.

“We want to bring people into the group that can supplement it but also improve it.

“We don’t want to try and run before we can walk, but first thing’s first we need to try and improve the group and get us ready for the start of the season.”

Part of Chippenham’s success last year was down to the contributions of loan players from a handful of professional clubs.

The most popular link between the Bluebirds and a full-time outfit saw Swindon Town regularly send young players west for more game-time – a plan which Horgan is aware works well for all concerned.

Looking to repeat the trick next season, he said: “It’s not just us, any non-league club has to have good links with the professional clubs close by.

“It’s a really good deal for both clubs generally. We want to help young footballers develop, and we give them an opportunity to do that here.

“Hopefully, we send them back in a better position than when they first came to us.

“We’ll absolutely be looking to build on those relationships from last year and beyond.

“They will be absolutely critical for us this year, so we hope to continue the good relationship with Swindon Town or Bristol Rovers, or whoever else we might take players on loan from.”