Collins - I'm dying to play my part

West Ham centre-back James Collins is keen to make an impact on his return to full fitness
Hammers defender James Collins is itching to get back on the pitch after returning from injury and is looking forward to facing a manager this weekend who once tried to sign him.
The big centre-half, who made a cameo return appearance from the bench against Watford last week, is fit and ready for selection having recovered from a hamstring problem as the Hammers face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
And the Welshman revealed that Baggies manager Tony Pulis, then boss of Stoke City, was a big fan of his years ago, however the 32-year-old instead left the Hammers for Aston Villa.
Collins said: “I almost signed for [Pulis] a couple of years back when he was at Stoke. I went to Villa a couple of days later instead, though.
“He is from Newport and grew up not far from me, so I’ve always had a good bit of banter with him. I know boys that have played for him, but he’s a great manager and a great man.
“He gets his teams working hard and it’s going to be tough on Saturday. We’re confident though that we can get the three points. I am dying to get back on the pitch and play my part in the rest of the season.”
Prior to the 3-1 victory over the Hornets, Collins last appeared for Slaven Bilic’s side in the Hammers’ 1-0 win against rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
The defender admitted that it has been a slower return to match fitness than he would have liked, but he now wants to help the side finish as high up the Premier League table as possible.
“It took me a bit longer to get fit than I wanted and I had a couple of setbacks, but I’m looking forward to getting some game time now and looking forward to the Euros too,” continued the Wales international.
“It’s still been a great season for us. If you ask the rest of the boys, they’ll probably say the same as me, that we’ve conceded a few too many goals recently, and I’m not just saying that because I’m not playing!
“We could have had a few wins where we’ve drawn, but we’re still going well and we’re looking forward to the last three games. We’re working to finish as high up as we can.
“There have been times where a couple of decisions have gone against us but we need to finish off strongly as we don’t want to fizzle out – we need to carry it on.”
Collins – capped by Wales on 46 occasions – will join up with the rest of the Dragons’ squad and manager Chris Coleman at the end of the season for UEFA Euro 2016 in France, and he is looking forward to the nation’s huge clash with Roy Hodgson’s England.
“The draw has been made and obviously we have got England, so it’s going to be a massive tournament and a massive game against them. We’re meeting up quite early though, so we’ll be fully prepared and will have a good few weeks to look forward to it.
“We will go there full of confidence that we can perform how we have been [in the qualifiers] and confident of getting to the next stage.”