Aaron Collins view, squad update and Ian Burchnall’s mark - What Bristol Rovers can expect from Forest Green

Ashley Loveridge of the Stroud Times gaves his view on Forest Green Rovers - Bristol Rovers’ opening day opponents for the League One season

Bristol Rovers get their season up and running with the visit of Forest Green Rovers to the Memorial Stadium.

It’s 20 years since Bristol Rovers won a home game on the opening day of the season, a win against Torquay in August 2001.

Today’s visitors FGR won the League Two title at the Mem, which is something the team wanted to avoid with goalkeeper James Belshaw revealing it hurt a slight bit in his pre-match press conference.

It’s been much change since then with a new manager at the helm, whilst a lot of their title-winning squad has departed. To get a bit of an insight into today’s opponents we sought the knowledge of Ashley Loveridge, the editor of Stroud Times.

A first ever season in League One - what is the feeling like around Nailsworth right now about approaching a new division, what’s the expectation?

Pride, disbelief and a large slice of trepidation. Little Forest Green rubbing shoulders with the likes of Derby County and Ipswich is a dream come true. Survial is the only expectation.

Rob Edwards has gone, as has the likes of Ebou Adams, Kane Wilson and Nicky Cadden, is this already very much an Ian Burchnall side now?

Burchnall will want to add his stamp on the squad, but the core group remains the same despite the loss of a quartet of key performers who helped Rovers to the title.

What have you made of the transfer business both in and out so far?

Losing League Two Player of the Year Kane Wilson and fellow wing-back Nicky Cadden to Bristol City and Barnsley is a hammer blow as is Ebou Adams to Cardiff City. Rovers have negated the loss by ushering in the experienced David Davis from Shrewsbury and the returning Reece Brown from Peterborough and both will add a bit of League One nous. The big talking point is the lack of strikers currently in the squad, numbers are thin on the ground with just captain Jamille Matt and Josh March available.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, who do you think can be the one player to unlock Rovers defence?

The Gas will need to shackle playmaker Reece Brown who is back at Rovers for a second spell. Brown has the ability to unpick a defence and is certainly Burchnall’s game changer.

Aaron Collins was a popular figure at Rovers last season, what was the view of him at FGR?

Ability in spades but somewhat of a maverick at Forest Green. Loves the big stage and the raucous Memorial Stadium is the perfect place for him to strut his stuff.

Team news - Is there anyone you know of that will miss the game through injury on Saturday and how do you expect FGR to line up?

Top scorer Matty Stevens is out until the new year after sustaining an ACL injury at the back end of the season.

Sheffield United loanee Harry Boyes has returned to his parent club after suffering a knee injury during pre-season.