DAVID Flitcroft admits that Swindon Town’s non-existent pre-season schedule has been the only stumbling block since taking over as the club’s new manager.

Town are due to report back for training in the final week of this month but they currently have no summer friendlies pencilled into their diary.

Flitcroft is desperate to amend that as he is well aware that long hard hours on the training field will be no substitute for real fixtures when it comes to trying to implement his ideology onto the squad.

The new Town boss has put out tentative feelers to a host of clubs and has even mooted the possibility of mouth-watering pre-season games against local rivals Bristol City and Bristol Rovers.

“That’s the only Achilles heel and the down side that we’ve had,” said Flitcroft.

“We have had a lot of knockbacks on potential games because it’s late in the season. Most teams start planning their pre-season programme in February or March and make sure they are in the diary.

“I am waiting on some really encouraging calls. I put a call into Tottenham about maybe taking a team there to play their U23s.

“I spoke to Kenny Jacket to try to get a game at Portsmouth but they have gone in as a new management team and are trying to lose a couple of games from their programme.

“I spoke to Lee Johnson and Darryl Clarke at Bristol City and Bristol Rovers to try to get games against them, even if they are behind closed doors, even if I have got to take them to the training ground.

“I have got to find a way of getting some games into this programme, that’s the only difficult bit that I can see at the minute because everyone’s structure is in place.

“We will get around that and work around and make sure we have got enough games to work towards.”

Last summer, Town’s pre-season programme was headlined by a home game against Premier League side Swansea while they also played two matches in Ireland as part of a summer tour.

With Swindon chairman Lee Power having since taken over at League of Ireland side Waterford, Flitcroft says a trip back over the Irish Sea could well provide the solution to their problems.

“The chairman has got a club over in Ireland so we might be able to go over and play them,” said Flitcroft.

“Hearts are over there at a certain time (in early July) so if we can put that together logistically, that is a game I will take on. If we can get two games over then that’d be fantastic.

“It’s getting competition and getting my methodology and my tactics into practice against opposition, that’s key.”