The Luton Town striker eyes up another League Two promotion tilt
JAMES Collins has already bagged a hat-trick of promotions from League Two – and he reckons he could be on to a winner again with Luton Town.
Collins joined the Hatters from fellow fourth-tier side Crawley Town this summer for a fee reported to be in the £250,000 region.
And the 26-year-old, who netted 22 goals last term, repaid a slice of that money by banging in a hat-trick as Luton hammered hapless Yeovil 8-2 in an incredible season opener at Kenilworth Road last weekend.
A 2-0 home defeat against Championship side Ipswich Town followed in the Carabao Cup, but it’s no wonder the powerful striker is already planning for more League Two glory.
The former Aston Villa trainee twice helped Shrewsbury Town to second-placed finishes – in 2011-12 and 2014-15 – and he also spent the second half of the 2015-16 season on loan with Chris Wilder’s Northampton Town, who won the title by 13 points.
“I think there are similarities to teams that I’ve been a part of in the past,” admitted Collins.
“At Shrewsbury and at Northampton, there were some talented players there and I think this side I’m a part of now certainly has the attributes to replicate that kind of success.
“There may be even more players to come in between now and the end of the window, but certainly the squad we’ve got now should be competing at the top of the table.”
One-time Czech Republic international goalkeeper Marek Stech and experienced midfield warrior Alan McCormack – a former teammate of Collins at Swindon Town – are just a couple of the other new faces that have arrived at Kenilworth Road this summer.
Meanwhile, defender James Justin and midfielder PellyRuddock Mpanzu have both signed new deals with the Hatters following interest from Championship clubs.
“We had a great squad anyway, but the talented players we’ve brought in are only going to enhance our chances this season,” said Collins. “W e’ve got some great faces through the door and it’s an exciting time.”
His spell with Crawley, which lasted just a single season, was the most fruitful of his career so far. His goals were crucial in helping the Red Devils keep their heads above water in the nether regions of the table.
But the former Republic of Ireland U21 international is hungry to make an impact at the business end this term.
“I want to be successful and I want to be at the top of the table,” said Collins.
“Leaving Crawley was a tough decision. I had a good season there, but when a team like Luton comes in for you you have to take the opportunity. We had a great pre-season and it’s been a real eye-opener because of the facilities at the club and things like that.
“The players and staff have been great and I’m just glad I’m here. It’s been a good start and long may it continue.”
Collins’ hat-trick in the opening-day win over the Glovers was his third career treble and he’s convinced the Hatters are ready to launch a title bid following play-off semi-final heartbreak last term.
“The club have made quite a few signings this summer because they want to do a lot better this year – and I want to do my bit to help us try to get promoted,” he added.
Not many would back against him.
GOING UP: Collins enjoys promotion with Shrewsbury in 2012 DREAM DEBUT: James Collins celebrates the first of his three goals against Yeovil