Ipswich still keen on Collins but move complicated by injury

James Collins was released by West Ham this summer. Photo: PA

James Collins was released by West Ham this summer. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ipswich Town’s pursuit of free agent James Collins continues but any potential move has been complicated by a hamstring injury.

The central defender, who was released by West Ham at the end of last season, has joined in a number of training sessions with the Blues during the international break.

Manager Paul Hurst says he retains an interest in the 35-year-old, who is also said to be a target of Aston Villa, but a hamstring problem is complicating things with the Welshman seeking treatment closer to his home in Essex.

“He’s another one who has felt his hamstring,” Hurst said. “He had a scan the other day, out of his own pocket I must stress, so he’s having treatment nearer to home at the minute.

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“It’s a deal that, in my eyes at least and the last time we had contact with him, is still a possibility.

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“I spoke with him and he understands I can’t justify to anyone that we sign a player who is not fit.

“I think he’s enjoyed it when he has been in and whether anything does happen I guess time will tell. At this stage he’s not an Ipswich Town player.

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“He seemed to be (keen on the move) but there’s other rumours flying around.

“I think he’s another one, like Jon Walters, who would gain instant respect and bring quality as long as he’s fit.

“At the minute we’ve not been able to say that and he admits that himself. He’s not trying to fool us. So we’ll see how the situation develops over the next week or whatever that may be.”

He added: “The information we’ve received from him speaking to Chris (Doig) after the results of his scan is he’ll be out for 10 to 14 days. He’ll know himself, he’s old enough and played enough games, whether it needs quite as long. We’ll see.

“At the minute he’s getting treatment himself, but the offer is there for him to come in. If he’s still of the mind to try and get a deal here then that door is open.

“He liked what he saw here, I think. And I liked the way he came across. I’d have no issue with him being around the group even if hasn’t put pen to paper.”

When asked if he would be looking for another centre back should a deal for Collins not ultimately be done, Hurst replied: “Not particularly.

“If there was another name I thought was a possibility, then maybe, but the longer things go on you have to get them in and have a look.

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“Have they been training? Where have they been training? To what intensity have they been training?

“Even if they are training but have missed pre-season they aren’t going to come into this group with the levels you would expect. With the way we work and train it can be quite difficult for someone so there would be a lot of things to consider.

“What we’re not doing is spending every minute looking for free agents just so we can say we have a fourth centre back.

“I’m going to have more, good, problems if Matthew Pennington continues to play like he did in the first game and we were happy with Toto (Nsiala). Then I’ve got my captain (Luke Chambers) who has done particularly well in the last couple of games.

“It’s going to be a tough decision as it is so I won’t add to that unless it’s someone who can benefit the squad overall.”

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