Collins hoping to transfer Hatters form to the international stage

Hatters striker James Collins gets a header in against Gillingham
Hatters striker James Collins gets a header in against Gillingham

Hatters striker James Collins is hoping to transfer his club form to the international scene this weekend.

The Luton forward has bagged 20 goals for the Hatters this term, including 10 since the turn of the year.

It was enough to win selection by new manager Mick McCarthy for the Ireland squad to face Gibraltar and George in the Euro 2020 qualifiers this evening and Tuesday night.

Collins said: “At the minute in my club if a chance comes I’m confident I’ll take it.

“So when you’re playing with higher quality players like I will be in this campaign, with the quality we’ve got in this squad then hopefully that can get me more chances.

“If one does fall for me, hopefully I can repay the gaffer for picking me with a few goals.

“A lot of conversations started in the week with boys saying, ‘you boys are flying’ and it seems to be a common thing throughout the squad, which can only be good for the squad going into these two games.

“Most players in the squad are doing really well at club level, so hopefully that can continue and we can get some good results.”

On just why he has been in such good form for the Hatters this term, Collins continued: “I think I’ve got a great squad at Luton, we’re doing really well.

“We’ve kicked on from last year, that momentum from getting promoted, we’ve carried that on.

“We had a great manager, Nathan Jones, he’s gone to Stoke now, but the boys have just carried on their form and they’re a big part of me scoring all my goals this year.”

Collins will be going up against the likes of Aiden O’Brien (Millwall), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) and Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), to earn a place in the forward line for the first game in Gibraltar on Saturday.

Sheffield United attacker McGoldrick, who has six caps to his name, believes that his new team-mate could get a start if he impresses McCarthy in training.

He continued: “All the strikers are good players, all scoring goals, it’s really open at the minute.

“Under Mick it’s how you train, if you train well in the week then he’s got no problem in throwing you in.

“He’s (Collins) scoring goals for Luton in League One.

“He (McCarthy) hasn’t looked at that and thought ‘it’s League One.’

“He deserves his chance and if you do that in training he’ll give you the chance, so its down to us to do that.”

After playing Gibraltar, Ireland host Georgia on Tuesday night at 7.45pm and Collins, who was relieved to know some of the faces in the squad from his days in the U19s and U21s, hopes to have some of Town's squad in attendance.

He added: "I was nervous meeting all the boys, but the lads have been great.

"I know a lot of them from my time with the 21s, people like Diddsy (McGoldrick) have made me feel really welcome.

"It was nice to be out on the grass with all the lads and the calibre of player that's in the squad.

"Two of my good friends at Luton, Alan Sheehan and Alan McCormack, they're Irish boys and they're on about coming over to the game next week in the Aviva,

"They're really supportive of me, they've backed me all the way and I think they're really happy for me as well"

Writing in his programme notes for the recent games against Gillingham, Sheehan said: "We're all delighted for Collin on his Republic of Ireland call-up.

"As an Irishman especially, it's great to see him get his chance because it gives hope to us all that they aren't going to just look at the Premier League.

"Collo's been magnificent this season and the whole squad couldn't be more pleased for him.

"When I came in from training and saw on my phone that he was in, I was as excited for him as I could be if I'd been called up myself.

"We'll all be watching how he gets on and although we'll miss him for the Doncaster game, it's a chance to show once again the depth of our squad as we look to continue this great run we're on."