Collins staying positive

James Collins is fully expecting West Ham United to 'bounce back' at Aston Villa after the disappointment of defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.

The Wales defender started his first game in seven weeks at White Hart Lane after recovering from a hamstring injury suffered at Bolton Wanderers on 21 February, producing a strong performance as Spurs ran out narrow 1-0 winners after a keenly-contested London derby.

In a match of few chances, Roman Pavlyuchenko's turn and finish gave Spurs the victory just moments after David Di Michele had been denied by a point-black save by home goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. Collins said the differing fortunes of the two strikers had summed up the game.

"Obviously I'm pleased to be back playing again but disappointed by the result. If we had scored the chance we had through David Di Michele then it could have gone the other way and we could have got a win but unfortunately we've lost.

"Neither side had too many chances but they've taken the one chance they had and we've not so that's the disappointing thing. We've lost twice to them this season so we will be looking to bounce back next week."

Despite the disappointment of losing out to their rivals, the 25-year-old said both manager Gianfranco Zola and his team-mates would not be dwelling on what was only the club's second Premier League defeat in ten away matches.

With the Hammers still sitting in seventh place in the table and on course for a place in next season's UEFA Europa League, Collins insisted there was no time for moping around. Instead, the defender revealed that the manager had called on his players to produce a positive reaction and result at Aston Villa on Saturday.

"Everyone is disappointed and no-one more so than the manager. Obviously he cannot be too down in the dumps because we've got lots of important games coming up and we've got to pick up points. He gets his message across and then it's on to the next game."

While everyone connected with the club was left momentarily deflated by the loss in north London, Collins said there were still plenty of reasons to be optimistic going into the final six matches of an encouraging season, none more so than the form of England Under-20 defender James Tomkins.

The promising youngster has formed part of a back-four that has conceded just two goals in its last six games, filling in at right-back to accommodate the returning Collins at the weekend and cover for the sidelined Jonathan Spector. Wherever he has played, the Welshman has been impressed with his colleague's form.

"I've been here for four years and as soon as I came in, everyone was talking about Tomka and when I've been out he's been fantastic. If Specs had been available at Spurs I'd have been on the bench as he's performed so well. Unfortunately for Jon, he's got injured but it's given me a chance to get back into the team. Tomka is a fantastic player and he's got a really bright future in front of him."