VIDEO: James Collins press conference

West Ham United defender James Collins also faced the media on Wednesday at the Club's pre-match Europa League press conference.

The Wales international looked ahead to the UEFA third qualifying round tie against FC Astra at the Boleyn Ground and talked about the preparations for the new season.


James, how have you found the Europa League in terms of preparation as part of the pre-season?

“As the gaffer said, it's a lot of games, but that’s what we’re here for, to play games, to get fit, and that’s the way we view it.

“We’ve had a couple of tough games already and the game on Thursday is not going to be a walkover.

“They are a good side we are playing against, and it’s good preparation for us to know the gaffer, and for the gaffer to get to know us as players and see us play.

“As players we’ve used these games to impose ourselves on the new staff, and tomorrow night we have a good chance of doing that.”

It has been an unusual route into the competition. Is there a feeling around the club to go as far as you can and hopefully get some big clubs to play at the Boleyn Ground?

“To have a big European team there would be great. We have a strong squad, and some top quality players, so all credit to the gaffer and the chairmen.“

Is this the strongest squad of players at West Ham since you’ve been here?

“Yeah, I’d say so. We’re still trying to get to know each other, and how each other plays, but the signings have been quality, and obviously to go with the lads we had here last year, the additions to the squad have been tremendous.”