James looking forward to facing his hero

James Collins is hoping to play against his boyhood hero when Liverpool visit Upton Park in the Premiership on Wednesday night.

The Welsh international defender grew up in Newport supporting the Reds as a youngster and named Robbie Fowler as his favourite player - but says he'll be aiming to keep the former England striker quiet when this year's FA Cup finalists do battle tomorrow.

"I've supported Liverpool since I was a kid, so I'm really looking forward to the game," says James. "I had all the posters on my wall and most of my family and friends were Liverpool fans, too.

"Robbie Fowler was my hero - he was on fire when I was in my teens and really taking an interest in Liverpool - so to play against him tomorrow night would be a massive honour.

"Hopefully, if I'm selected to play, I'll put in a good performance and keep him quiet. It's not going to be an easy game, but we want to put on a good performance and show Liverpool what they will be facing in the final.

"People might say that the pressure is off in terms of tomorrow night, but we won't be looking at it in that way. We go into every game hoping to win, and it will be the same tomorrow night - we want to put on a display for the fans at Upton Park."

Along with the rest of his team-mates, James returned to training at Chadwell Heath on Tuesday morning after a well-deserved day-off following our memorable semi-final win at Villa Park, and admits that the recovery process is still ongoing!

"It was nice to come in this morning and see all the lads again," he says. "There were a few stiff bodies and tired legs after Sunday's game - and a few tired heads after Sunday night!

"It was a great day for everyone, though, and I'm sure the fans enjoyed it. It's given the whole Club a massive lift and we're all really looking forward to the last few weeks of the season now."