Aidan's patience pays off for Blues

THE wait is finally over for Aidan Collins.

THE wait is finally over for Aidan Collins, writes Derek Davis.

When the lanky defender made his Blues debut aged 16 on the last day of the season in 2003 he knew it would be a while before he donned a first-team shirt again, but he never expected he would have to wait more than two years before getting his second run-out.

Collins will start for Ipswich Town tonight against Yeovil Town in the League Cup and the Chelmsford 18-year-old can hardly wait.

He said: “Ever since I made my debut I have played a lot of reserve football but that seems so long ago.

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“That is the way it works out sometimes.

“When I came in I didn't expect to be in every week or anything like that but it would probably have been nice to play at least one more before now. But that is just how things have worked out with one thing or another. All I can do is get my head down, work hard and make the most of my chance.

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“This is my chance now and I'm eager and ready.”

Collins was on the Blues bench against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday after proving his fitness in the win over Portsmouth reserves the previous Monday.

It was a step up after missing most of the early part of last season with injuries, mainly caused by growing too quickly.

He returned to help the Under-18s win the FA Youth Cup with an assured performance alongside Chris Casement and highlighted his prowess in the air by scoring in the youngsters' semi-final at Spurs.

Playing at this level after so long will give the highly-rated youngster a huge boost, and he is ready to show he is ready in every way after using the enforced absence to get stronger.

Collins said: “I have filled out and mentally I feel strong.

“Physically I feel at the top of my game. I had a good pre-season and I feel as if I have grown into my body.

“Mentally I know I need to concentrate for the whole game and cut out silly mistakes. Sometimes I need to accept that I need to kick the ball out of play rather than try to get it down and play all the time.”

A laid-back character who excelled academically at school, Collins is hoping this appearance can help him make that elusive second league outing, and he is sure he could handle the experience.

With Jason De Vos out for at least another 10 days, Collins is on standby for the Millwall and Preston matches coming up this holiday weekend.

He added: “I'm not worried. If my chance came I'm sure I could do myself justice in the Championship and I'm eager to show that.

“If needed I'm confident and ready to step in.”

Collins was signed straight from school and after impressing as a 15-year-old played for the reserves and then made his first-team debut at Pride Park when he went on as a 74th-minute substitute in a 4-1 Town win.

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