Thursday, 23rd October 2014

Hot-shot Collins ready to fire Town’s promotion bid

LEADING scorer James Collins has Dagenham firmly in his sights as he aims to play a central role in Shrewsbury Town’s promotion glory bid on Saturday.

Collins, on target 15 times this season, netted from the penalty spot after coming on as a substitute when Town won 2-0 at Dagenham on November 5.

And the Republic of Ireland under-21 international, now firmly established in Graham Turner’s starting XI, admits he would love to produce more fireworks by leading from the front and firing Town into League One this weekend.

“It would be brilliant to get a goal,” admitted Collins. “A goal any game’s good but to get a goal in the final home game of the season to send us up would be brilliant.”

Collins, snapped up from Aston Villa last January, is delighted to be on the threshold of helping Shrewsbury climb into the third tier of English football for the first time in 15 years.

And the 21-year-old is relishing the prospect of appearing in front of a sellout crowd at the Greenhous Meadow for the first time.

“It’s a great thing to look forward to,” he stressed. “The chance of going up with a home game in front of a full house makes it very exciting. All the boys are looking forward to it.

“Dagenham are doing quite well at the moment but we’ve got to be confident of going out to get three points and maintaining our unbeaten run at home for the season as well.

“We’ve done really well over the season and we got some massive results over the Easter period which helped us. That was a big point of the season.”

Collins, who will be cheered on by his girlfriend and several family members this weekend, added he had been pleased with his own contribution since becoming a regular starter following a string of excellent displays up front.

“I’ve done okay the last couple of months,” he said. “I wasn’t so good last Saturday at Accrington but you’re not going to play well every week.

“But the team as a whole have been playing well, especially at home.”

Collins is one of several regulars out of contract at the end of the season but insisted his focus was fully on helping Shrewsbury go up as opposed to what might happen in the summer.

He added: “We’ll get this season out of the way and see what happens. Then we’ll sit down and talk about it.”

But Collins admitted he was happy at the Meadow, stressing: “It’s a great club and I’m playing so I’m happy at the moment.”

He feels his game has improved under experienced boss Turner and the club’s coaching staff, with Collins confirming Town have the ideal man at the helm to guide them over the finishing line to promotion.

“He knows his stuff,” he said. “He’s been in this position many a time and he’s a good man to have around the place.”