Ginge - We are full of confidence

James Collins is delighted with Hammers' current run of form
Speaking ahead of the Hammers’ trip to Vicarage Road to face Premier League newboys Watford, James Collins spoke of his pride at being part of London’s form club.

Having beaten Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Chelsea last weekend, the Hammers are aiming to extend their dominance in the Capital with a win over the Hornets.

The experienced Welsh international has been in superb form in recent games, keeping the likes of Jason Puncheon and Diego Costa quiet.

Speaking ahead of the short journey to Hertfordshire, Collins said: “It’s great to be the top club in London, we’ve done very well in the last two London derbies, scoring a lot of goals. We knew the Crystal Palace game would be very difficult but we were spot on that day and came away with a 3-1 win.

“Then against Chelsea we were very good again, to be the top club in London at the moment is a great feeling.”

Now seven games unbeaten in the league, the Hammers could go top of the table should they win and other results go their way.

However, despite the tantalising prospect, the West Ham stalwart maintained that no one is getting carried away after only 10 games.

“This Saturday is going to be tough, I’ve watched them a few times this year. We’re going to have to be spot on if we’re going to get anything from it. They’re new to the Premier League, working hard for each other and their manager has got them working well with each other.

“Saying that, we’re full of confidence at the moment and we know if we play to our capability we’ll do well.  With the players we’ve got, it’s great to be part of such a strong squad. We’re looking forward to every game.

“We haven’t set any targets but with the squad we’ve got I certainly think Europe has to be the aim. A lot of the key players have signed new contracts so we’re building for the future and keeping everyone together which hasn’t always been the case.”
When asked what he thought was the main difference between this season, to last, Collins reserved special praise for the new recruits brought in over the summer. 

“The signings that we made have hit the ground running which has helped massively, that hasn’t happened at other clubs so that’s a massive boost for us. In particular Dimitri Payet but also Manuel Lanzini, they looked like they’ve been in the Premier League for years.

“I think we have a great mixture, some more experienced players who have been around for a while like myself and then other younger players who have freshened up the side.

“In the summer we looked around the team and knew we had a lot of talent and potential. I spoke to Nobes in pre-season and we both said how excited we were for the season. We knew we had a good chance, but I don’t think anyone expected it to go quite like it has done.”

Another positive for the Hammers has been the return to fitness, and form, of Andy Carroll.

The big number nine made his presence known with a powerful header against Chelsea, and Collins, who has marked Carroll during training for several seasons knows what a handful the England international is: “I know as a defender how hard it is to play against Andy.

“If I was on the opposition side and I saw Andy warming up, I know I’d be in for a tough afternoon. He’s the best in the air I’ve seen in my time in football but also he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the way he plays on the floor. He’s a handful in every department, when we get him back fully firing, it’s going to be great.”