Wanderers are delighted to confirm the signing of striker Aaron Collins in a major deal for the Club, writes Pete Oliver.
The Whites have paid an undisclosed fee to bring the 26-year-old from Bristol Rovers on a contract running until June, 2027.
Collins – last season’s League One player of the year after scoring 16 times for the Pirates – becomes Wanderers’ third signing of the winter transfer window and will wear shirt number 28.
The Welshman, who also spearheaded Rovers’ promotion success from League Two in 2022, will greatly enhance Wanderers’ current attacking options as the Whites look to continue their promotion challenge and build for the future.
Collins, a creative presence whose assists also rack up alongside his goalscoring statistics with the second most in League One this season, will bring an extra dimension to a strikeforce already boasting Dion Charles, Victor Adeboyejo, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Cameron Jerome.
With Dan Nlundulu currently sidelined through injury, manager Ian Evatt wanted to add another striker for the short and longer term and is delighted to have secured his top target in Collins, who scored 35 league goals in just 118 appearances for Rovers after earlier spells with Newport County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Morecambe and Forest Green.
“The Board have backed Chris (Markham) and I immensely with this and thanks to them for their support in getting the deal done and I’m looking forward to working with Aaron,” said Evatt.
“We're really excited to have him. He is a very, very good player and brings something slightly different to what we already have. We're always looking to improve and find players that are additive to what we already have and he fits that bill.
“We have a really good squad of players and a really strong group of strikers. Obviously losing Dan was a big blow. We felt we have been one light for the past couple of months, so adding Aaron into that pack is great.
“We wanted somebody who we feel will make an impact now, but also have an impact in the future. We do lots of research and diligence into players and he comes out well in all of our models. We are really happy to have him and looking forward to working with him.”
Newport-born Collins, who follows the loan pair of Calvin Ramsay and Nathanael Ogbeta in joining Wanderers during the January window, started his EFL career with his hometown club before joining Wolves in January, 2016.
He was loaned out a number of times during his stay at Molineux to gain first-team experience before moving to Morecambe on a permanent basis for the run-in to the 2018/19 season.
A burst of goals for the Shrimps brought a move to Forest Green Rovers for a two-year stay in June, 2019. After hitting double figures in his second season at the New Lawn, Bristol Rovers then took Collins to the Memorial Stadium where he finished top scorer in his two full seasons with the club.
His 16 league goals helped Joey Barton’s side secure promotion from League Two in 2021/22 before the former Wales U19 international matched that tally, along with a healthy return of assists, last term as the Pirates maintained their League One status.
Collins was part of the Rovers side that won at the Toughsheet Community Stadium in December, but now swaps sides to join Wanderers as a key signing in a squad currently sitting second in League One and looking to maintain their promotion challenge with 19 games to go this season.