Grant McCann believes a squad of winners has been forged at Rovers as they prepare to start the new campaign.
McCann has fine-tuned his group of players since taking charge of the club in May, adding ten new faces to the squad in a bid to achieve his goal of promotion this season.
Heading into the opening game against Harrogate Town on Saturday, the Rovers boss is confident his players have the attributes to compete at the top end of the division.
“This group has got a real steel about them,” he said. “We feel like we’ve recruited winners, people who want to win and enjoy winning.
“I’ve seen that on an every day level on the training ground where the players are doing everything to win, whether it be possession drills, small-sided games or a game of table tennis or pool in the canteen. You can just sense the feeling about the place and I’m really looking forward to working with this group this season.
“I’ve enjoyed the last five weeks in pre-season. Now we need to put that hard work that we’ve done in the last five or six weeks into practice.
“I said to the group this week that it’s eight months of sacrifice, of going above and beyond. The lads who travel, pack the travelling in and get in hotels or get a place down here. Make sure we’re making people proud of us. And that is what we want to do.”
On the landscape of Sky Bet League Two this season, McCann is expecting a difficult challenge ahead but is confident that Rovers can be among the contenders.
“I think it’s a very tough division,” he said. “A lot of teams are spending a lot of money.
“There seems to be more money going around in this division than in League One. People want to get out of it. Of course, we’re one of those teams that want to do that.
“There’s a lot of good teams and there’s probably 14 or 15 teams could see themselves challenging for the top seven. It will be competitive.
“I’m focused on trying to get this team up. My focus is on let’s see if we get around the promotion places, see if we can aim for the stars and if we don’t quite get that then so be it.”