FOREST Green boss Ady Pennock has snapped-up Exeter City centre-back Danny Coles on a one-year deal four days before the new Vanarama Conference Premier kick-off.

The 32-year-old former Hull City, Bristol City and Rovers man was in the stands for Forest Green’s 6-4 thrilling defeat against Arsenal’s U21 team on Tuesday night.

Coles is excited to join Rovers and is primed and ready to go straight into the team to face Southport on Saturday.

He said: “I am very excited to join Rovers and get it over the finish line before the start of the season.

“I’ve had a good pre-season at Exeter and played in every game and had 70 minutes against Torquay at the weekend. I will train with the boys on Thursday and travel to Southport on Friday.”

The ambition to climb into the Football League was a big factor in Coles opting to drop down a level.

“I could have stayed at Exeter but Ady sold the club to me and the ambition of the club to get into the Football League made the difference and I am really excited about the challenge.”

With seven players over thirty, experience is going to matter , but Coles feels the side have the right ingredients of youth and wise old heads.

“You need a good blend of youth and experience and we have that in abundance and hopefully we can kick-on and have a good season.”

Familiar faces will help Coles bed in when he trains with Rovers for the first time on Thursday.

He said: “I’ve played with Jon Parkin at Hull City and David Pipe at Bristol Rovers and Elliot Frear at Exeter City and obviously played against Lee Hughes and Luke Rodgers, so hopefully that will help me settle in well.”

Bristol- born, Coles was placed on the Exeter City transfer list and stripped of his captaincy following a disciplinary hearing into comments he made on social media .

He got into trouble in June when he sent an abusive tweet to a 14-year-old supporter who had mocked his performances for City.

The club has conducted an internal investigation into the matter and following a disciplinary hearing made the decision to remove Coles as club captain and placed him on the transfer list.

Rovers boss Pennock is delighted to capture his 10th pre-season signing and feels his new man is the final piece of the jigsaw.

“We’ve been tracking Danny for sometimes, so I am naturally delighted he agreed to put pen to paper. Danny is a leader and ticks all the boxes.”

Forest Green ended their pre-season campaign with a swashbuckling display against a talented Arsenal Under-21 side.

Rovers were ahead 2-1 at the break with James Norwood and substitute Rob Sinclair both bagging braces.

A late double from the talented Isaac Hayden saved the day for the young Gunners..

Forest Green: S. Russell (P. White 46); A. Baldwin (L. Wright 66), L. Oliver (D. Bennett 46), E. Oshodi, C. Stokes (S. Bevan 62); K. Guthrie, A. Bangura (A. Barry 46), M. Kelly (E. Frear 79), J. Norwood (R. Sinclair 62); D. Wright (L. Hughes 62), L. Rodgers.

Subs not used: D. Pipe, S. Wedgbury, J. Jennings, C. Kamdjo, J. Parkin,

Arsenal XI: M. Masey (D. Iliev 60); G. Kamara, S. Ajayi, S. O'Connor, B. Ormonde-Ottewill; J. Toral, K. Olsson, I. Hayden, A. Maitland-Niles (D. Crowley 55); C. Okpom, G. Zelalem.

Subs not used: J. Tebb, T. Moore, A. Lipman, C. Willock.

Referee: R. Martin (Somerset) Attendance: 1,748

Star man: Luke Rodgers-Full of vigour for 90 minutes.