The Monday Profile: James Collins
So, imagine my frustration at feeling that I now have to keep my eyes open for a further 20 minutes now that Argyle are back down in the Basement; having last competed at this level some 10 years ago, the only players I know are those that have either fallen from a more lofty perch or have simply dropped from last term’s League 1.
Kicking off at Shrewsbury last week, then, there was just one Salopian that I could recall seeing in the flesh following a pre-season trip two years ago to watch Marvin Morgan in Aldershot colours at Southern League side Didcot Town. I was mightily impressed that day, but the Mancunian League 2 dweller has had a mixed time of it since and failed to impose himself in last week’s fixture. Instead, it was his partner in attack, James Collins, that caught my eye on the afternoon.
Playing with Morgan at the head of a fairly conventional 4-4-2, Collins puffed like a trooper throughout the 90 and stood out for sheer horsepower. That said, chances were at a premium and little was created by the front two, Shrewsbury instead relying on the pace and movement of Lionel Ainsworth and Mark Wright on either wing. Ainsworth in particular was a real thorn and, if his diddy height can be overlooked, it would be no surprise to see a club a step or two up give him another chance at playing at a higher level in the near future.
Salop’s manager Graham Turner had more than a smattering of reserve team appearances to base his verdict on, however. Indeed, following a short loan spell with Darlington in their 2009-10 Football League Dog Days in which he scored a brace of goals, Collins impressed at Burton at the beginning of last season. Knocking in 5 from thirteen appearances during an emergency loan, Turner moved quickly for Collins during the next transfer window, signing him up alongside Mark Wright in an attempt to secure more goals.
It didn’t quite work out last season, with Shrewsbury falling victim to a much publicised non-goal, but on the back of two decent enough points from as many games and a cracking League Cup win at Derby, Salop look well-placed to at least match their top 7 finish last season. Travelling to Oxford tomorrow evening, Turner may well opt, however, to line up without Collins for the first time this term. Replaced by the exotically-named Terry Gornell on Saturday, who went on to equalise in the embers, Collins might have to take a step back before his next leap but if his determined and selfless opening day performance was anything to go by then we may yet see more of this young man.