Collins hoping for Blackburn return

Alan Curbishley's squad enjoyed a fast-paced training session at Upton Park today and among the faces feeling fired up and ready for action against Blackburn was returning defender James Collins.

"Training at the ground gives you that extra lift and it was nice to come down with the sun shining," he said. "Everyone was in good spirits, flying about. Another couple more days of training like that and I'll be ready for Saturday."

After missing much of the season with a troublesome groin injury, James has played twice for the reserves in the last two weeks since recovering from an operation to cure the affliction.

"I'm not feeling any ill effects in my groin, which is a good thing," he said. "I feel much better in training having played a couple of reserve games.

"I'm still not going to know what I'm like in a Premiership match until the first ten minutes. But hopefully I'm ready and I can put in a good performance if I play against Blackburn.

"It's always tough going up there, they've got a few big boys playing for them but every game's tough from here on in. All the boys are ready for a battle and hopefully we can get our first away win.

"The main thing is to keep a clean sheet and let the boys at the other end do all the scoring. Fingers crossed we can get a clean sheet and get the win we need."

James has been included in the Wales squad for next week's Euro 2008 qualifiers and is keen feature and increase his fitness.

"We've got the Republic of Ireland in Dublin so obviously I'm looking forward to that as well because I haven't played for Wales for four or five months," he said. "I'll hopefully have a lot of games coming thick and fast now, which is brilliant. The more games I can play in, the better because I need to get my fitness up."