Collison eager for home start

Jack Collison is itching to get his first senior run-out at the Boleyn Ground this Saturday after making his full debut at Bolton Wanderers last weekend.

The 19-year-old reserve-team captain, who met fans at the stadium this week as part of a special promotion for the club's new Umbro Leisurewear range, is hoping to remain involved from now until the end of the season. He is particularly keen to face Derby County as his initial excitement at starting at the Reebok Stadium soon turned sour. It was only his second taste of Barclays Premier League action, having previously come off the bench in the 2-0 loss at Arsenal on New Year's Day.

The closest he has come to playing for the senior side at home so far was as an unused substitute against Birmingham City back in February, but Collison hopes he will get another chance to impress against the already relegated visitors this weekend. He said: "I would love to play in front of the fans at Upton Park and it would be nice to get a win as well when I am playing. Fingers crossed, I will work hard now in training and we will see what happens."

The match at Bolton proved a difficult one for the entire team, and when the home side took the lead just after half-time, Collison was sacrificed as Alan Curbishley added extra firepower in the shape of Carlton Cole. "It was obviously a tough game to come into. It always going to be physical," the Wales U21 international said. "The ball was in the air a lot. It was about winning the headers, winning the second ball.

"It was always going to be tough. I am quite harsh on myself, I could have done a bit better but I think the team could have done a bit better as well. I was a bit disappointed to have come off when I did, especially as we had only just conceded. I would have liked to have got a bit longer on the pitch and try and help us get back into the game but it wasn't to be - hopefully I will get another chance soon."

His brief experience to date against the contrasting but equally effective styles offered by Arsenal and Bolton summed up the difficulties facing any young player. Collison said: "They were two totally different games, two totally different teams in the way they play but at the end of the day it is all experience for me. Every minute on the pitch is a bonus because you are just learning all the time ... playing with players like Scott Parker and Hayden Mullins makes it that much easier. You learn so much."