Collins wants to make it five promotions with the Hatters

James Collins celebrates promotion at CarlisleJames Collins celebrates promotion at Carlisle
James Collins celebrates promotion at Carlisle
Luton striker James Collins will look to make it a famous five when the Hatters return for a crack at League One next season.

The forward has spent this summer celebrating an impressive fourth promotion of his career so far after Town finished second in League Two last term to go up automatically.

Collins believes there is every chance he could achieve his goal too, despite moving up a level, as he said: “Definitely, I don’t think there’s much difference between (League) One and Two.

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“I’ve never played in the Championship before and I’d love a crack at the Championship with Luton, so hopefully next year will be a successful year.

Town striker James Collins has been promoted four times in his careerTown striker James Collins has been promoted four times in his career
Town striker James Collins has been promoted four times in his career

“The squad reminds me a lot of the squad I had at Swindon. We finished in the (League One) play-offs, and I think we should have gone up, but this squad has really got a good chance next year.

“We’ve got a good fanbase, good club, good ground, good manager, good players, we’re set up to succeed and I really believe that we’ll be in the mix next year.

“We’re not going to take the league lightly, we’re not going in there being big headed or anything like that, we know it’s going to be a difficult challenge, but it’s a challenge that we’re ready for.”

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Collins, who joined Town last summer from Crawley, had already enjoyed the sensation of going up twice while with Shrewsbury and then once at Northampton.

He admitted that the feeling got better every time, saying: “Yes, it does, I think I take it in a lot more and appreciate it a lot more now.

“When I was 20, 21, 22, I had a couple of promotions and you think this is going to happen every year, but as I’ve learnt it doesn’t.

“So I’ve really taken this one in and I think I’ve played a big part in this one as well.

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“To have four promotions at 27, is not doing too badly and I’m really lucky to have played in lots of good sides with very good managers.”

The frontman was well aware of the magnitude of his achievements though, saying: “I’m quite a modest person, I don’t like to boast about it too much, but I think when you sit back and reflect on it, to be involved in four promotion-winning sides at such a young age is something to be proud of, and me and my family are really proud about it all.

“Because to have one promotion in your career is a big achievement but to have four and hopefully I’ve still got a few more years left in the game, I’m really proud.”

Although Town were under pressure from the word go to do the job this term, Collins didn’t think that weight of expectation affected the players in any way.

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He continued: “That just comes with the territory, when you sign for a big club like Luton.

“I think the pressure, because it’s such a big club, and the fanbase and expectation, it just comes with the territory. Any footballer feels pressure in some way, but I knew what I had to do, I knew why the gaffer brought me in.

“I knew what job I had to do and I’m just lucky that me and the rest of my team-mates managed to do our job really well, because we’ve taken Luton to the next level and we played a great brand of football while doing it.”

The forward certainly played his own part in the success, scoring 20 goals from 45 games, as on his tally, he said: “As a striker if you get to 20 goals in a season, you’ve had a very good season.

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“To have me and Danny Hylton on 20-plus goals this season, we’ve got Elliot Lee in double figures and there were goals all over the place.

“Alan Sheehan’s got great delivery from set-pieces, we scored a lot of goals from set-pieces this year, so I just think there’s a lot of goals in the team.

“We proved that by winning eights and sevens and sixes and fives, so we did it in style. To win the league would have been great, but we still played a great brand of football this year.”

Despite not being quite able to beat his previous best tally of 22 in a campaign, coming in his one season at Crawley, he wasn’t too fussed, adding: “I always try and improve that every year, that would have been the icing on the cake. But still, 20 goals and a promotion, I think I would have snapped someone’s hand off for that at the start.”