Fit again Collins eager to help Irons recovery

PUBLISHED: 16:35 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG JAMES COLLINS has already made one remarkable comeback for West Ham this season so it is no surprise that the Hammers defender is predicting another recovery at Upton Park in the coming weeks. The Wales international defied the predictio


JAMES COLLINS has already made one remarkable comeback for West Ham this season so it is no surprise that the Hammers defender is predicting another recovery at Upton Park in the coming weeks.

The Wales international defied the predictions of medical experts when he returned to action last month following a serious knee injury.

Collins had been sidelined since January with cruciate ligament damage suffered in a reserve match at Portsmouth and was originally told he faced up to 18 months of rehabilitation before making a first-team return.

Yet the 25-year-old has resumed his career in half that time, starting the club's last three matches in a stunning return to Premier League football.

Now Collins is predicting a similar upturn in fortunes for West Ham, who are currently lurching towards the relegation zone and mired in a winless run that stretches to seven matches.

The Hammers collected a first clean sheet since February following a goalless draw against Portsmouth last weekend and Collins believes that is a positive sign as manager Gianfranco Zola attempts to improve on the club's ailing league position.

He said: "We've been under pressure to get a clean sheet so we'll take the positives from that and use it as a springboard to kick on.

"Obviously I'm not happy with the results we've been getting. We've been disappointed with the way things have been going, but the gaffer said it himself - we've been playing good football so as long as we keep doing that, I'm sure we'll pick up points.

"It helps if you keep clean sheets for starters. We've done that now but we couldn't find that cutting edge to get a goal. But I'm sure that will come, that bit of luck in front of goal and we'll start picking up points."

Collins believes his positive outlook helped him recover from his long-term injury ahead of schedule but it is the defender's bravery and courage that have stood out since he rejoined the West Ham side.

Fellow Wales international Jack Collison praised his team-mate's "massive presence" on the pitch this week, adding that "when you look up and see him throwing himself in front of danger, it brings a lot of confidence to the rest of the side."

Yet Collins believes there is still room for improvement in his individual displays and is convinced that both he and the Hammers will continue to make progress in the coming weeks.

He said: "I've been playing all right, but I've been out for a long time and I'm still trying to find my feet.

"It's always tough but I'm pleased to have kept a clean sheet and we can go to Sunderland this weekend and build on that.

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