James Collins was delighted to end his long wait for a Barclays Premier League goal when the Hammers defeated Norwich City on Tuesday night.

Collins notched twice in last season's 2-2 draw with Manchester United in the FA Cup with Budweiser third round, but had not netted in his previous 54 Premier League appearances.

The Welshman was playing in Claret and Blue of a different kind when he last scored a top-flight goal, beating Petr Cech in a 4-2 defeat for Aston Villa against Chelsea back in March 2012. The header also represented Collins' first Premier League goal for West Ham United in 89 games dating back to his opener at Chelsea on 9 April 2006!

So, he was naturally thrilled to help the Hammers notch up a third straight victory as they edged away from the relegation zone.

He told whufc.com: "I was late up for the free-kick because we played it short and I think I only got on the end of it because I was late in the box.

"I heard the goalkeeper [John Ruddy] coming and as soon as I heard the shout from him I thought 'If I get anything on this it's an open net'. Luckily for me and the boys it went in.

"It's two years since I had scored in the league, which is not good enough for the amount of balls we put in the box, and corners, so to get one at a vital stage was pleasing for myself and the Club."

West Ham stuck two hammer blows to pick up the points on Tuesday, with Mo Diame following up Collins' 84th-minute header with a deflected strike in added time.

To get to that point the home side had to ride their luck with Gary Hooper, Robert Snodgrass and Alex Tettey all being denied and the No19 had praise for goalkeeper Adrian's Man of the Match display.

He continued: "Adrian was great. I said to the boys in the dressing room that we have to thank him really. It was probably lazy defending from our point of view [that Norwich had the chances], that we then got caught a couple of times when they broke out.

"We have got to thank him a lot because we could have been two down quite easily. He's a goalkeeper and he's paid to make saves - that's what he did on Tuesday.

"It's massive to keep four clean sheets in a row. That's what we base our game on - if we keep a clean sheet we can't lose the game and that's what the Gaffer drills into us. Everyone who is in the back four knows that's the case - Norwich did have some chances on Tuesday, but the 'keeper was there to dig us out and he was magnificent."


James Collins watches his header hit the back of the net on Tuesday

The three-point haul took the Hammers up to eleventh place, but the No19 says they cannot rest on their laurels yet..

He explained: "The pressure is never off until you've got the sacred 40 points. We knew that, on Tuesday, that we'd gone into it with three good results and it would have been quite easy to think we'd done the job.

"But it was a massive game, we realised that, and to get the three points made it a big night for us."

Sam Allardyce has now taken his squad to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp and Collins says it will help maintain their level of performance come their return ahead of the home clash with Southampton on Saturday 22 February.

He added: "You don't get the chance to do it [warm-weather training]  normally as a team, but the Gaffer does this all the time with his teams, and a couple of weeks ago it didn't look like we'd be doing in such a good mood, but with the wins and the way we're playing we'll be going out there a lot happier.

"It'll be good to get some nice training under our belts and come back all refreshed.

"It was a tough old game second half at Villa on Saturday, when they put it right on us and we had to defend for long periods, so there was a little tiredness in the legs for me on Tuesday, but the crowd got right behind us again and we got the late goals which is brilliant for the club.

"The break between fixtures is helpful, there did seem to be a few tired legs out there late on Tuesday. It's been tiring on the brain too, because with the position we're in you're always thinking about it.

"That takes it's toll, and winning three in a row will lift a weight off a lot of people's shoulders and allow us to go out there and enjoy our football again. When you're down there you wake up in the morning and that's all you're thinking about, so to lift that is a massive boost."