‘I love playing football’ - Collins says he could stay with Town in League One

PUBLISHED: 18:00 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:31 25 January 2019

James Collins in action for Ipswich Town. Picture: STEVE WALLER

James Collins in action for Ipswich Town. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

He’ll give his everything to help Ipswich Town avoid relegation, but James Collins says he wouldn’t rule out staying with the Blues in League One.

James Collins has boosted Ipswich Town's defence. Picture: ITFCJames Collins has boosted Ipswich Town's defence. Picture: ITFC

Collins, 35, was immense on his debut at Portman Road in a backs-to-the-wall 1-0 win over relegation rivals Rotherham, and has given the club a real boost of both experience and Premier League quality.

But Town remain rock-bottom of the Championship, seven points from safety, with just 18 games left to save themselves – starting at Aston Villa this weekend.

And the 50-cap Welsh international, out of contract at the end of the season, says even if the worst happens and Town do end up playing third tier football for the first time since 1957, he has no qualms about dropping down to help them get back up.

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He said: “Certain players don’t want to drop lower because it’s a pride thing, when you’ve been used to the Premier League for as long as I have been lucky enough to be.

“But I love playing football. I’d be playing in the park with my mates if I wasn’t here. Any level, if I’m lucky enough that someone still wants me at 37, 38, I’ll come out and give my all in every game and every training session.”

Collins added: “I love defending, being part of a training ground and a club, and I’ll play until I physically can’t play any more.

“I keep myself fit and as long as I’ve still got something to offer this team or any team, I’ll play until one day someone turns round and says ‘Nah, you’re done.’

James Collins spent three season at Aston Villa in the Premier League - Villa are Town's opponents this weekend. Picture: PA SPORTJames Collins spent three season at Aston Villa in the Premier League - Villa are Town's opponents this weekend. Picture: PA SPORT

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“Realistically I think I could certainly go for another couple of years. Let’s see where this season takes me and this team, and this club, and we’ll see in the summer.”

Of course, the Blues aren’t doomed yet, and Collins says the team know exactly what is needed to pull off what would be the greatest single escape from relegation in Championship history.

“It’s easy to say, but we have to win games,” he said. “I looked at the points and it seems to be around 45-47 points to stay up and it’s do-able. We’ve got 54 points to play for.

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“We can’t go into games fearing losing, we’ve got to win games. We need to defend a bit better than we did at the weekend and certainly score more goals, but it’s do-able.

“I’ve been in situations, at West Ham in 2007, where a lot of people wrote us off but I think we won seven out of last nine games to stay up. “So until someone tells us otherwise this squad is fully in the mood, and behind the manager, to go and stay in the league.”

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