Collins felt Luton's players wanted derby win more than Watford

Town striker pleased the Hatters are safe from relegation already

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 19th April 2021, 11:29 am
Updated Monday, 19th April 2021, 11:30 am
James Collins celebrates Luton's 1-0 win over Watford
James Collins celebrates Luton's 1-0 win over Watford

Striker James Collins felt Luton's players demonstrated they clearly wanted victory more than their arch rivals Watford during Saturday's superb 1-0 win at Kenilworth Road.

The Hatters were on it from minute one of their first meeting against the Hornets at Kenilworth Road since January 2006, while their most recent triumph came back in August 1993, almost 38 years ago.

However, Town made light of that record and their opponents lofty position in the Championship table, sitting second and on a run of seven wins from eight prior to the contest, as they completely dominated throughout, and should really have won by more.

Collins eventually sealed the points from the penalty spot with 12 minutes to go with what was his first touch after coming off the bench to replace Elijah Adebayo, injured by keeper Daniel Bachmann when winning the spot-kick.

The match-winner said: “It’s a derby and I think it showed today that our lads wanted it more than theirs.

“Maybe a few of their players have not seen a pitch or a stadium like this before, no disrespect, but that’s the truth of it.

“I think some of them didn’t fancy it, I think we took advantage of that and won the game.

“We played the pitch excellently and I think we outworked them and played the better football as well.

"You see a Watford team playing all year, they’re pass, pass, pass and today they had to go quite direct and I thought we dealt with everything they threw at us.

“Maybe got a bit of luck with the disallowed goal, they’re the type of things that need to go your way and to watch that from the sidelines, the lads were outstanding and all the hard work was done before I got on the pitch.

“We could have been one up after the first minute, Bez (Luke Berry) had a chance, but the whole game from the first minute to the last minute, we were outstanding and it was a pleasure to watch from the side.”

The win, coupled with Derby County's 2-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on Friday night was enough to ensure that Luton are now mathematically safe from relegation, which with five games to go is a tremendous achievement, particularly after Town only avoided the drop on the final day last term.

Collins felt that boss Nathan Jones and the squad deserve plenty of credit for being in with a genuine shout of a top half finish now, adding: “Since the gaffer came in with nine games to go, we had such a good run until the end of the season and you carry that on all the way through and with a few additions of course, that momentum keeps going.

"We had a great start to the season as well, but I think we’ve been really quite consistent this year, so it’s really pleasing to be safe already.

"To do that with five games to go after the situation we were in last year is brilliant and credit to everyone at the football club.

"We’ve beaten some big, big sides this year in Norwich, Bournemouth, Forest, Watford, we’ve mixed it with some of the big boys and I think it’s thoroughly deserved as well.

"We’ve played some great stuff throughout the year and I believe we are where we are for a reason.

"Maybe we should even be a bit here, a couple of dropped points here and there where we thought we should have won the game.

"But I think we’ve really shown that we can compete in this league."