‘We have to manage him but he knows his own body’ - Lambert on keeping Collins fit
PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 January 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Paul Lambert knows defender James Collins will need to be looked after throughout the second half of the season but trusts the veteran to manage his own body.
Collins signed as a free agent last week and went straight into the side for last Saturday’s victory over Rotherham, putting in a superb display as the Blues secured a backs-to-the-wall victory.
He is set to start again at Blackburn today, partnering captain Luke Chambers at the heart of the Ipswich defence.
“He’s fine,” Lambert said when asked if the 35-year-old was fit to play. “We just manage him through but he was outstanding last week, which was apparent for everyone to see.
“He’s 35-years-old and, even if he had been playing every week before he got here, your body can’t do what it can at 25. That’s just human nature.
“James knows how to manage his body which is important. You have to know what makes people tick and what doesn’t.
“He’s a player who has played at the highest level for most of his career and he’ll be great for us.”
Collins enjoyed his start to life at Portman Road and believes a similarly-committed display is needed if the Blues are to back up their Rotherham win at Ewood Park.
“It couldn’t have gone better and it was the perfect game to come into really,” the defender said.
“They were putting plenty of balls into the box and I’ve always enjoyed that type of defending.
“We played really well in the first half and hung on a bit in the second but it was a huge three points.
“To a man I thought everyone was magnificent and we will certainly need that going forward.
“It’ll be another tough game this weekend against Blackburn but we have some confidence from the Rotherham result and we’re looking forward to it.”
Collins’ arrival has seen Matthew Pennington moved to right-back, replacing Jordan Spence, with the Blues boss happy to use the Everton loanee in a role he played during much of last season’s loan at Leeds United.
“I think one of Matty’s big attributes is that he’s very good on the ball,” the Ipswich boss said of the defender.
“He’s really strong, won so many balls at the back post when it was on top of us all the time and he’s a very good footballer. He can adapt to most positions.”
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