FOREST Green begin a busy week of pre-season action with the news that defensive midfielder Jamie Collins has added an extra year to his contract at The New Lawn, which now runs until the end of the 2013/14 season.
Dave Hockaday’s side have three games in the space of four days, beginning with Cirencester Town Tuesday night, the first home friendly against Wycombe Wanderers on Wednesday evening, as well as a visit across town to face Shortwood on Friday.
Collins was a deadline day signing for Rovers in January 2012, when he arrived at the club from League Two side Aldershot Town – signing initially on an 18 month contract.
The 27-year-old provides strength and experience in the Rovers engine room and will battle with Al Bangura for a starting role as midfield enforcer this season.
Manager David Hockaday said: “This is another step in the right direction for the club and allows Jamie to focus solely on what he’s doing on the field.”
Collins agreed saying: “Obviously with two years of security you don’t have to worry about where you are going to end up next season. It’s a big relief off your mind and allows you to concentrate on playing as many games as you can and doing a job for team.”
From a team perspective, he said: “our main goal is to get into the Football League, so we want to be in and around the play offs this season.
On a personal front, he said: “As it is, myself and Al (Bangura) are probably competing for one spot in the team, but in certain games we will play together. But that competition is good, it keeps you on your toes and if you have two players for every position it’s great for the team – so if one of you is not in form, hopefully the other person is.”
Last season Collins made 12 appearances in the Blue Square Bet premier for Forest Green including a memorable second run-out away to Kettering when he bagged a brace before halftime.
The news came on the back of Forest Green’s 2-0 win away at North Leigh on Saturday and before tomorrow night’s game away to Cirencester Town (7:30pm).
Cirencester compete this season in the Southern League South & West Division, the same level as North Leigh and Friday’s forthcoming opposition Shortwood United.
Pre-season meetings between Forest Green and Cirencester are an annual occurrence, as Rovers boss Hockaday has close links with the Southern League club, having ended his playing days there as well as setting up the Cirencester Academy in conjunction with the Centurions.
Last season in a similar pre-season game Forest Green ran out 3-0 winners with James Rowe, Charlie Griffin and James Norwood all scoring. Meanwhile, Reece Styche had a penalty saved by ex-Rovers shot stopper Danny Greaves.
Tuesday’s game sees Matt Bulman return to the club he left to sign a two year deal with Forest Green and the Rovers keeper has enjoyed two previous spells at the Corinium Stadium.
Cirencester finished rock bottom of the Southern Premier League last season and have seen several players leave for rival clubs whilst manager Brian Hughes has recalled Ciren old boys Chris Thompson and Matt Bath to his squad.