Collins hopes Watford winner will show he's still got it after 'disappointing' spell out of Luton team

Top scorer looking to win his place back

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 6:30 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones with striker James Collins
Hatters boss Nathan Jones with striker James Collins

Luton match-winner James Collins is hoping that his goals against Watford and Barnsley will show boss Nathan Jones that he’s still got it after a ‘disappointing’ spell on the bench recently.

The 30-year-old has only started two of Luton’s last 11 matches, losing his place to recent signing Elijah Adebayo.

It was the same scenario for the Hatters’ first home derby against Watford on Saturday, although this time Collins was to have a major impact from the bench.

After winning a 78th minute penalty when clattered by Hornets keeper Daniel Bachmann in the area, Adebayo couldn’t continue, meaning Collins was introduced to score from the spot with his first touch.

It followed up another goalscoring cameo against Barnsley in Town’s last home game, as now up to a tally of 12 for the season, Collins admitted not playing has been difficult to take.

He said: “Yes, it is, I’m not going to stand here and lie to anyone.

“Every footballer wants to play games, that’s me included, I want to play every game that I can.

“It’s been disappointing not playing and not being picked, but that’s football, for whatever reason that may be, I don’t know.

“I was just glad that I could come on and as I did against Barnsley, show that I can still put it in the back of the net.

“If I keep working hard and keep training hard then hopefully I get a few more starts before the end of the season.”

It’s the first time in his Luton career that Collins has not been first choice at Kenilworth Road, a position he hasn’t really been in at any of his others clubs either, barring one season at Swindon in 2012-13.

He continued: “I’ve been really lucky in that sense, up until now I’ve played a lot of games.

“I’m never injured, I always look after my body well and I try and stay fit for the fact to start games and make an impact.

“It has been frustrating, but it’s football.

“Elijah’s come in and he’s done really, really well, so credit’s got to go to him, but I want more starts.

“I want to play more and everybody should know that with the attitude I have, so that’s where I’m at.

“You’ve just got to keep your attitude right and train hard, it’s the gaffer’s decision, he does what he needs to do.

“Our record lately has been quite good, so fair play.”

Although frustrated to be out of the team, Collins was quick to praise the efforts of Adebayo against the Hornets, the striker leading the line against an experienced defence with real class.

He said: “Elijah was brilliant up there on his own and bullied both their centre halves.

“Everyone to a man was outstanding and I think it shows how far we’ve come as Watford are a great side and it looks like they’ll go up.

“So for us to be the best team on the pitch player for player, I think it shows how far we’ve come.

Collins’ goal was his 71st in Luton colours since arriving at Kenilworth Road from Crawley Town in the summer of 2017.

It is enough to see him sit 13th in the club’s all-time top scorers list too, taking him 178 games in which to do so, as he added: “Since I’ve come to this club I’ve been fortunate to be in great sides and score lots of goals.

“It’s been a pleasure to play with some of the lads that I have, the assists that they give me.

“To score so many goals for the club is a great thing for me personally and I’m really proud of that.”