Bristol Rovers’ first venture into the Football Conference sees them host former League rivals Grimsby Town on the opening day of the 2014/15 season – August 9th.

Rovers who, in Darrell Clarke have a manager who knows what the Conference is all about from his successful time at Salisbury, have been made favourites to go straight back up by the bookmakers but, as Luton fans will testify, that tag can prove to be a real burden.

Torquay United, who came down with Rovers, have been at this level before and will probably welcome the fact they will get their longest trip of the season out of the way on the opening day – away to Gateshead!

Last season’s Conference North champions AFC Telford United’s welcome return to the top flight sees them travel to Welling on the opening Saturday.

However, Liam Watson’s men, who have added striker Sam Smith from Cambridge United and highly-rated attacking midfielder Jordan Deacey from Bradford PA amongst their summer recruits, face Macclesfield at their New Bucks Head home the following Tuesday (Aug 12th), swiftly followed by welcoming Aldershot and then travelling to title-favourites Bristol Rovers on August 23rd.

Altrincham, who followed the Bucks up as play-off winners, must make the trip to Aldershot on the opening day and then host fancied Lincoln and Bristol Rovers at home in their next two matches.

Eastleigh, so impressive in winning the southern section last term, also travel on the opening day as the Spitfires go to Liberty Way to tackle a Nuneaton side under new boss Brian Reid.

Eastleigh have considerably strengthened their attack with the arrival of James Constable and Jack Midson and, despite being newly-promoted and never having played at Premier level before, have been made third favourites for the title by the bookmakers.

Dover, who came up with Eastleigh as play-off winners, have a home start on their return to the top flight as they welcome a much-changed FC Halifax side now without the league’s top scorer Lee Gregory, who has stepped up to play Championship football with Millwall.

Wealdstone, champions of the Ryman League and back at Conference level after an absence of almost 20 years, have been handed a home start when Eastbourne travel to The Vale.

Lowestoft, who came up with the Stones as play-off winners but have been placed in the Conference North, make the long trek to Lancashire to take on fellow new boys, Evo-Stik Northern Premier champions Chorley.

It’s going to be a great adventure for the Trawlerboys who, just 5 years ago, were members of the Step 5 Eastern Counties League.

AFC Fylde, another club who have enjoyed a miraculous rise through the non-League Pyramid, make a home debut as a Conference club when Jon Brady’s Brackley travel to Kellamergh Park.

Southern Premier Division winners Hemel Hempstead must travel to Hampshire to face Basingstoke on their debut at Conference level, while play-off winners St Albans, back after a 3-year absence, host reprived Hayes & Yeading at Clarence Park