Collins Commends Character After Comeback

JAMES Collins scored his first goal for the Hammers with a sweet low drive to help take home a precious Boxing Day point from Portsmouth and despite an under-par first-half performance, the Welsh defender believes it was a well deserved draw.

Speaking post-match he said: "None of us were happy with the first-half tonight but luckily for us we upped our performance and we got the point we deserved.

 "Before the break we didn't know if we were coming or going, especially with all the injuries and substitutions but we got ourselves together, we dug in and were determined to better our performance second-half and fortunately for us we did."

Collins struck the ball well to find the back of the net but the young centre-back is remaining very modest about his effort and credits the win more to the character of the whole team.

"I thought I was a bit lucky to be honest! The ball came through a few people's legs and found its way to me so I just hit and it went in. I'll take whatever comes, they all count and it got us the point which is the most important thing.

"The character of this team is something that has been so important all season and we showed that today with the way we came back in the second-half. The way we played after the break is credit to everyone, all the boys especially and we are delighted to be leaving here with a point."

The games come thick and fast this time of year and with the dust barely settled on the result at Pompey, the team now have 48hours to prepare for the visit of fellow promotion outfit Wigan Athletic and it is a match James is relishing.

"It's a massive game for both sides, we were both in the same league last year and came up together so both teams know their opponents well and it promises to be a great match. I'm sure with us being back in front of our home crowd and if we carry on where we left off here today we can get all three points.

Both Wigan and West Ham United have surprised a few people with the way they have tackled promotion to the Premiership but James believes there is no real secret to Hammers' success it is just down to positive play and thinking.

"I'm not sure exactly what the reason is," said James "We just started picking up points from day one of the season which I think was very important. We have also taken each game individually picking up wins and draws where we can, plus the manager and the players have always had belief in not just surviving but finishing as high as we can and I think that positive approach has helped us to get where we are."

For James personally the season did not start off so well with Danny Gabbidon and Anton Ferdinand in such fine form but when he got his chance he has taken it with both hands and proved why he has such a promising career ahead of him.

"When I came into the team it was great but it was slightly dampened by the fact it was due to Danny getting injured, but since then I have just got on with it and concentrated on putting in good performances and I'm pleased with the way I've been playing. I am just happy to be playing to be honest so hopefully that continues and I can score some more goals."