PHYSICAL pre-season games against Football League opposition will stand Swindon Town in good stead ahead of the League Two season, says assistant boss Neil McDonald.

McDonald, who was announced as Town’s new assistant last Wednesday, will team up with manager Phil Brown on the Swindon touchline for the first time on Tuesday, July 3, at Cirencester Town.

But games against former Premier League giants West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth at the County Ground excite McDonald, who will make his first visit to Swindon once Brown returns from a two-week holiday.

Town's other pre-season fixtures include trips to Melksham Town and Chippenham Town.

McDonald said: “We’ll look forward to the first game against Cirencester, that will be a good start for everybody.

“West Brom and Portsmouth will be a brilliant challenge for the team too.

“You always try to start out with the local teams and on past experience the players normally play 45 minutes or 60 minutes tops.

“Hopefully the games test us out a lot leading into the first game of the league season.

“Our games at the County Ground will certainly do that, I’m sure West Brom and Portsmouth will field some first-team players – there will be a mixture between who they’ve got.

“It’ll be great to start against those two teams.”

During Brown’s time off, McDonald revealed he is touching base with agents of players while continuing preparations for pre-season – which starts in four weeks.

While negotiations between the club and players offered new contracts continue, McDonald said the club hopes to have some new faces in ahead of the Cirencester clash.

It means Ryan McGivern, Stuart Moore and Joe Romanski are still yet to agree deals with the club, following veteran Matt Taylor signing a new one-year player-coach agreement last week and midfielder Amine Linganzi confirming his exit from the County Ground.

“We can see where the players are at (during pre-season) and hopefully we’ll have a few new faces in,” said McDonald.

“We’re trying to add to the squad and speak to players, but negotiations take time.

“That can be a player coming in for a trial or trying to negotiate a contract, it’s about touching base with people that fancy coming on board and making Swindon Town a better club.

“It’s an ongoing process, and that will happen right the way through until the start of the season no doubt.”