Talisman Collins is 'changing his career' with the Hatters

Town striker James Collins in action against Switzlerland on Tuesday night
Town striker James Collins in action against Switzlerland on Tuesday night

Town striker James Collins is ‘changing his career’ with the Hatters this season according to Luton chief Graeme Jones.

The 28-year-old, who had spent all of his life in League One and Two before this year, plus a campaign in the Scottish Premier Division with Hibernian, has taken to life in the Championship with ease.

He has scored five goals already, while returns to Luton colours once more this afternoon against Bristol City after starting both of the Republic of Ireland Euro 2020 qualifiers in Georgia and Switzerland last week.

Jones said: “He’s changing his career, James, isn’t he?

“He’s come through the leagues and now he’s a regular Championship starter, a regular Championship goalscorer and now he’s a full international.

“He’s been a real talisman for Luton through the last few years and it’s no different where we are now.”

After playing 80 minutes of the 0-0 draw in Georgia last Saturday, Collins was then replaced at the break as the Irish fell to a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland on Tuesday.

That was of no particular concern to Jones though, who continued: “I can’t hide the fact I was delighted when he came off at half time on Tuesday night in Switzerland.

“He tells me it was for tactical reasons, which I understand, but from a physical point of view I was delighted.

“If he’d had have been on the pitch for 95 minutes, it would’ve took its toll.

“Switzerland are a really, really strong international team.

“I’ve still got an interest in Belgium and I remember them beating Belgium by a two-goal margin last November or October.

“I know the strength of the Belgium team so it tells you where Switzerland are.

“For James to go and compete at that level, it can only be a good thing for Luton Town because you learn.

“You would imagine starting two international games you’d be in a better place than before you went.”

Meanwhile, Jones is hoping for a far better start to Town’s first game after the international break when they host an impressive Robins side this afternoon.

Last time out, the Hatters found themselves trailing 3-0 inside half an hour at QPR, blown away by a rampant home side, although to their credit, they did fight back to only lose 3-2.

After the game, Jones had admitted he might have worked his players ‘too hard’, so when asked if he had altered his preparation this time, he added: “I’ve worked them harder!

"No, we’ve worked tactically a lot.

“It gives you an opportunity to work in different areas and we have.

"I’m really pleased with the period of work but, ultimately the measurement is tomorrow, so we’ll see if the work has been effective or not.

“I hope the next 60 minutes replicates because we were really good.

"QPR have gone on since and shown they are a good side.

"I know they had a bad result at Cardiff, but if we can produce our last 60 minutes for the full 90, I’d be absolutely delighted.”