Collins left disappointed after return to action

It was a afternoon of mixed emotions for James Collins on Saturday as Hammers slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough.

In the absence of Anton Ferdinand, the Welsh international defender made a welcome return to first team action after more than six weeks out with a groin injury, but left the Riverside Stadium disappointed after Alan Pardew's team were stunned by Massimo Maccarone's late winner.

"It was nice to get back to playing again, but it's never nice to lose a game and we are even more frustrated with the way the game panned out," says James.

"Me and Gabbs were both saying in the second half that it if anyone was going to nick the win, it would be us, so we are really disappointed to end up losing the game.

"The goal was a bit of quality from Maccarone, but also a bit sloppy on our part, which was a shame because I thought we had defended quite well up until then.

"It's even worse because the game was there for the taking. We came in at half-time and the belief was that we could go on to win - they were under a bit of pressure from their own fans and didn't seem to be causing us many problems.

"So it was a real kick in the teeth to concede the goal and end up with nothing. That's football, though, you have to take it on the chin and keep battling."

Battling is something that Hammers will certainly have to be prepared to do in their next Premiership encounter - at Champions Chelsea next Saturday. Our most recent visit to Stamford Bridge, back in April, began with Collins heading a superb opening goal, only for 10-men Chelsea to retaliate with four goals, and the 22-year-old is only too aware of the tough challenge ahead.

"It's a massive game against Chelsea next week - another big derby for the fans and none of the players will need too much lifting for a match against the champions," he says. "We know it will be tough, but we will have a good week of training and give it everything next Saturday.

"Another goal would be nice - my last goal for West Ham was the one at Chelsea last season, so I am certainly due one. I don't care who scores the goals, though, as long as we get a good result."