James Collins is looking forward to getting back into action and helping West Ham United finish February on a high.

The Wales international defender has been laid low by a hamstring injury since the away match at Sunderland last month, but after working hard at the club's Chadwell Heath training ground over the last few weeks, he is set to return to full training next week.

He exclusively told West Ham TV: "I feel good; I am raring to go and can't wait to get back into training with the rest of the lads. It is looking like I can do this next week, in the lead up to the Tottenham game, and see how I go.

"It has been frustrating and a pain, being out injured, but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say it is an injury and get on with it. During the match [Sunderland] I felt good and my body was fine, but I then over-stretched, which can happen, and I have just been working hard to get back ever since.

"The medical team here have been great with me and I am back sooner than was hoped, so that is a good thing. I am ready to push through and if I can be involved against Tottenham, than that will be great for me."

With the injury Collins suffered, it was a case of letting the muscles heal and then a gradual step up in the work he has been able to do.

He continued: "The first couple of weeks you can't do anything, as it is a muscle injury, so you have to let that recover. It is literally massages and on the machines, doing gentle stuff and in the medical room.

"Then it progresses on from that as the weeks go on and then you can start running. You then have to do a certain amount of tests before they feel you can go back on the training field and take part fully. I have done all of that now, just waiting to get in back in the swing of it all and can't wait."

Collins says you have to set a goal on doing things properly and being patient so that you can return fitter and completely ready to play.

He explained: "The hardest thing about being injured is not playing and the fact you are in the gym, working on your own pretty much, and you look out of the window and the rest of the lads are out there training together.

"So it is hard, as you are also missing out on all the banter and camaraderie as well. It was tough as it was the first time in a long while I have had an injury like this and touch wood that is over and I am just looking forward to getting stuck in again with the lads."

While he has been on the sidelines, Collins has attended to watch and cheer on his team-mates in the games he has not played, but says no amount of watching can make up for being out there on the pitch.

"I am not the best watcher I would admit," he added. "I find I revert back to watching the game like a fan, not as a player though. I have family and friends with me at the games, but it is tough as you just want to be out there playing your part for the team.

"There have been games recently where we have not picked up as many points as we would have liked. It is frustrating for us as it is for our fans, but we will keep working away at it all and you find the results will come.

"Obviously for me, watching from afar, you can see something that you don't always see when you are on the pitch, but you can't do anything. All I could do was do my best to cheer the lads on and shout support for them along with the rest of our fans."

With Collins eager to be back involved on playing field, he is also looking forward to exciting times off the pitch, with another addition to the Collins household about to arrive at any moment.

The No19 and his wife Samantha, who are already proud parents to two-year-old son Dylan, are about to welcome a daughter. And Collins said he is looking forward to being a dad again and combining that with being back to do his bit for the Hammers.

"We can't wait and neither can our little boy," he said. "My missus is getting a bit impatient now for our little girl to arrive, as we all are, so we are really excited about having a new addition to our family.

"People are saying I won't be getting much rest off the pitch, but to be fair, my wife is unbelievable and if I am fit and ready to be playing, she will make it easy for me to go out there and do my job. As I said, I am raring to go and looking to help the team get some results on the pitch so we can finish in a strong position."

- James Collins took the honours in the Hammers' Goal of the Month vote for January.

West Ham fans had the chance to vote for their favourite strike from the month on our official Facebook page and Collins took 63% of the vote for his second header against Manchester United in the home FA Cup with Budweiser third-round tie.

Jack Collison's powerful strike at Arsenal took second place.

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