SWINDON Town are likely to be without several first-choice defenders for Saturday’s League One opener against Rochdale at the County Ground.

With Dion Conroy, Mathieu Baudry, Tom Broadbent and Akin Odimayo all declared unfit by manager Richie Wellens on Friday, a patched-up Town side will hope to make a positive start to the new season on home turf.

With a record of six wins in their previous six seasons on opening day, the makeshift Swindon defence must keep out a Rochdale side that scored just 39 goals last term.

But, speaking in Friday’s pre-match press conference, Wellens retained an air of confidence and boasted that his team will be a match for anyone this season despite revealing winger Kaiyne Woolery will not be signing a new deal at the club.

He said: “We will play our strongest XI, but we’ve got a few injuries so we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got.

“But we will be a good team, we’ll be a test for anyone.

“Dion Conroy definitely won’t be fit because he had an injection on Monday which will keep him out for two weeks.

“Mathieu Baudry won’t make it, but Zeki Fryers will be.

“Tom Broadbent hasn’t been fit all pre-season, so even when he does start training again, it will be another two or three weeks until he’s up to speed.

“Akin Odimayo is also out with a groin problem, he felt it late on against West Brom in the week.

“We won’t have anyone new for the game either, and I don’t think we can do Kaiyne anymore, so we’re going to have to move on.”

Town take on a Rochdale side who have won both of their opening fixtures so far this term.

A gutsy win over Huddersfield Town in the League Cup preceded an EFL Trophy victory over Morecambe, thanks to a late goal from new signing Alex Newby.

Wellens has warned his players not to take their opponents lightly, despite the visitors being forecast as a potential tip for relegation this season.

He said: “I’m expecting a side that’s full of energy, they play a system that is pretty fluent, and they’ve got a manager who wants to explore different ideas.

“Rochdale in League One – it’s a tough gig for them.

“We know they’re not one of the top teams in the league, but we also know it’s a dangerous game because you might take your foot off the peddle against them because they’re not one of the glamourous names in the division.

“This is where the season starts now, it’s good to have all the friendlies behind us, and now the serious business starts.”