CAMERON McGilp has his sights set on impacting Swindon Town’s first team this season, ahead of the club’s opening pre-season fixture at Brimscombe & Thrupp this evening.

Richie Wellens’ squad face their first pre-season challenge at The Meadow tonight against the nearby Hellenic League outfit.

It is expected that a number of Town’s younger players will be granted the opportunity to pitch for first-team involvement come August.

McGilp, 21, falls into that bracket of younger players wanting more first-team game time this season.

And after suffering a momentum-killing ankle knock in February, the Scottish-born Australian insists stepping into the first-team environment is something he can tackle naturally following his positive experience at Birmingham City in the first half of last season before his Janiary move to SN1.

He said: “To be involved with high quality players at Birmingham was good for me.

“Even though I was only at the club for six months, Birmingham helped push me on – and they were supportive of my move to Swindon. I’m still in touch with a few people at the club.

“It can be tough stepping up into the first team – and playing for something in front of a crowd. One of the problems with youth team football is that it really doesn’t matter if you win or lose.

“That pressure is there in the first team, though. There is pressure on individuals to perform and teams to earn results.

“That’s something I hope to rise to and handle.”

Football in Australia is quickly growing in popularity as it battles for primetime media coverage with Aussie rules football, rugby and cricket.

Having spent the majority of his childhood in Australia, McGilp is encouraged by the increasing levels of provision in football Down Under.

A gradual flow of young Australians looking to make a name for themselves in England is therefore inevitable in the future.

McGilp added: “It’s not the dominant sport, but it has got bigger over the last couple of years.

“Hopefully it keeps growing and more players will stay in the country rather than coming over from Australia to play.

“There is a professional league out there now, and a few players are moving out from the UK to play down under. Australian players just need the opportunity, and when they get it they usually take it.

“Weather wise, I definitely prefer being back home.”