Bristol Rovers boss ahead of high-flying Bolton Wanderers visit and welcomes return of former £750,000 star

Matt TaylorMatt Taylor
Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor looks ahead to the Gas’ League One clash with Bolton at the Mem this weekend.

Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor previewed his sides’ clash with promotion pushing Bolton Wanderers in his pre-match press conference at The Quarters, as former star player Aaron Collins is to return to the Memorial Stadium for the first time since his departure from the Gas in January.

“He (Collins) is part of a very strong attacking group right through the team,” said Taylor. “The form he has hit recently, the performances that he has been involved in and the goals he scored last weekend. It’s great to see him doing well. The reason why he left this club was to go on and challenge at the top end of this league and to get out of the league and play Championship football, so I really hope he does well in relation to that,” he added.

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“In terms of returning to a former club, there is always a question which gets asked and it will be answered on the weekend in terms of the way he plays and we play, but it won't be about Aaron Collins, it will be about two teams going at it. One with aspiration still to get in that top two, if not the through the play-off route and we have got a really good chance to put down a marker of what we want the game to look like at home.”

The Gas beat Bolton 2-1 at the Toughsheet Community Stadium back in December, thanks to first-half goals by John Marquis and Antony Evans. “You can always take bits and pieces, one thing is that they are consistent in terms of the way they build and the way they play and the rhythm and their style, so we were able to nullify them to a certain extent,” said Taylor. “Things went our way on that day, we obviously played well but we were against 10 men for long periods, we scored a couple of goals and we looked a real threat on the counter attack.

“We can't sit in and soak up pressure and play on the counter attack, especially at home. We have to try and dictate the running a little bit, dictate the style of the game a little bit more than we have done recently. It will be interesting because all over the pitch they've got quality and they reinforce certain positions and there's competition across the board in terms of their squad, but this is a game where there should be very little in terms of preparational words, the motivation is there enough to have a scalp of a top team of this level,” he added.

With just six games to go until the end of the season, the 42-year-old valiantly called, in a way of motivating his side to give their all in the final push. “We have got some great fixtures,” said Taylor. “Some big names, the Boltons, the Readings, the Wigans of the world, Peterborough, these are big names and teams towards the top. I know Wigan have had their struggles this season, but every game you want to be fully engaged in and fully motivated for.”

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However, despite the tough run in, the former Rotherham United boss was quick to point out that it doesn't get much bigger than Saturday’s opponents. “In terms of where Bolton are and the feeling going towards what they can potentially achieve and obviously with Aaron Collins coming back, I think this will have a little bit of an extra feel to it and one where as a manager you want a certain type of home performance, where we are dictating as much as the opposition. They love to dictate the ball and love to use the ball fantastically well, therefore we have to make it a really uncomfortable game for them this weekend.”

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