Shrewsbury Town supporter Sam Morris answers our questions on new Swindon Town signing James Collins. I did think this would be our final player view for a while, then Town announced three new signings yesterday!
Judging by your Tweets and the reaction of fellow Shrewsbury supporters, James Collins’ departure has been in the offing for some time, but nonetheless hard to swallow. How important was he to your fantastic season as League Two runners up (to Swindon)?
Many Town fans noticed Di Canio’s embrace with Collins after our game at the County Ground in February and some thought he would be a target for you. While he scored 16 goals for us over the season, it was only the second half of the season that he really shone.
After being a drunken passenger in Barry Banan’s car that crashed on the M6, many clubs may have binned him off, especially as he hadn’t been overly amazing to that point. However, Turner took him under his wing and Collins repaid his faith and starting banging the goals in. He scored some important goals.
Were you surprised Collins didn’t step up a level to the Championship with his move this summer?
I wasn’t overly surprised that Collins didn’t go to the Championship. He is young and has potential, but I don’t think he is Championship standard and won’t be for a few years. He has lots of talent and will do things in the game, but the Championship would have been a big jump for him at this stage.
I thought he may have joined one of the “bigger” clubs in the division such as Coventry (his hometown club) or Sheffield United though.
Paolo Di Canio has always wanted a ‘nasty striker’. Does Collins have the work rate to keep up the pressure, continually chase and close down the centre backs?
Collins will work hard. He runs and runs, but isn’t “nasty” – he plays the game fairly and will be a pain for centre backs.
What type of attacking role has Collins performed while at Shrewsbury?
As I have said, Collins works hard. He isn’t a natural finisher, he needs a couple of chances before putting the ball in the back of the net. He will run the channels and also challenge for his fair share of headers, so you could say he is a bit of an all round striker.
What can Swindon fans expect from James Collins?
Swindon fans can expect a good work ethic and a few goals. You might get a few bad moments, such as his moment of madness with Banan, but he will put in a good shift when on the pitch. Expect quite a few missed chances too.
Does he have any particular strengths or weaknesses?
Collins will need to work on his finishing if he is to become a top striker. I have said above that he needs a couple of chances before scoring, but he can also pull a goal out of nowhere. He can also win a fair share of headers.
Can he play as a lone striker or withdrawn with a strike partner?
Collins has never really impressed when playing as a lone striker or in any other formation other than 4-4-2. He started to form a lethal strike partnership with Terry Gornell towards the end of last season so I would say he needs to play in a standard front two for him to be at his best.
Di Canio says he will improve Collins. How can Collins improve as a player?
He can get his head up when running with the ball, sometimes he doesn’t see the simple ball and gets dispossessed. As previously mentioned, his finishing needs working on if he is to become a big name in the game. If he continues to progress as he has done so far in his career then he will do well.
Overall, how will James be remembered?
I think Collins will be remembered for two goals. One away at Arsenal, putting us 1-0 up in the Carling Cup third round at the Emirates in front of 5,000 Town fans.
Second one being the goal against Dagenham that clinched promotion. Unfortunately, some of the things he said in the press towards the end of the season and then this move have left a few sour tastes in the mouth.
Follow Sam Morris on Twitter @sam_morris89