CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mike Cook has vowed to do his best to keep the Bluebirds in National League South this season – but says he will do so with a team that is not truly his.

In an interview with the Gazette and Herald shortly after Cook was appointed, the Chippenham manager said it would take ‘six or seven weeks’ to coach the players into playing his way.

When asked whether he had seen any progression on that front after the club’s first win under his stewardship on Saturday, Cook said: “It’s not going to look like my team until the squad is full of my players.

“I’m coaching another manager’s players at the moment – that’s what makes it doubly difficult.

“Also, 12 of those players are on contracts, so that ties my hands behind my back again.

“And then with only one loan position left as well.

“The only person that I’ve brought in which I would truly call my sort of player is Luke Russ.

“Even with Luke Haines and Scott Twine, they’ve been here before.

“When we got presented with those two lads from Swindon, they’d done so well before and we went on a couple of people’s say with that – they’ve been proven right and both were fantastic on Saturday.”

Like any managerial change that comes halfway through a season, Cook was always likely to face challenges during his tenure – particularly when bringing in players that suit his style.

But having acquired three current Football League professionals on loan in Russ – from Bristol Rovers – as well as Haines and Twine – from Swindon Town – has added a sprinkle of much-needed quality to Cook’s squad.

The former Gloucester City coach is now hopeful he can use his final loan to ensure the Bluebirds hang on to their spot in National League South.

Cook said: “All three of the Football League players have fitted in really well and done great since they arrived – I’ve given them a little bit more licence to play.

“When you’ve got new players or players that aren’t used to a particular system, it’s difficult.

“We released Grant Horton back to Cheltenham Town because he didn’t quite fit in with what we wanted from our system, but that has also freed up a loan for us.

“We’ve got to use that loan really, really wisely with someone that is coming in.

“We’ve had a lad from Oxford City called Jack Self who’s been training with us recently – we’re trying to get him signed up too because then he’ll be our player.

“That will save us a loan again, which will be really important.”