We missed out on Gareth McAuley and when James Collins started training again with West Ham all seemed lost but no deal was struck. Now the free-agent is training with Town so could James Collins hold the key to stability at the back for the Blues?
Defensive frailties have already cost us dearly this term, and we have been particularly vulnerable at set-pieces, conceding seven of our nine goals; either directly or indirectly this way. It is partly understandable, with a relatively new back line but the introduction of Mathew Pennington last week on loan from Everton certainly seemed to stabilise the defence a bit – or was it just a case of Norwich City being so poor?
The news today that 35-year-old free-agent James Collins has not been offered a deal with the Hammers is encouraging and perhaps what is even more encouraging still is that he was today training with Town!
Manager Paul Hurst has already had a chat with him and I guess both sides are now feeling the water. Obviously, he has to prove his fitness but if he does and we get him on a free, then I really do think he can make a significant difference to our defence. He has a wealth of experience playing both in the Premier League for many years but also at international level for Wales, and like Jonathan Walters up front, he could prove to be the missing link at the back that we have all yearned for this season and before.
I am pretty happy with our midfield options these days and of course, there are more of them coming back from long-term injuries so we should be even stronger in this department in the near future. The attack has been bolstered by Walters too because he provides that Premier experience and street-wise nous to make things happen and assist our young developing strike force.
So now, all we really need is a much more stable defence. James Collins has all the natural defensive attributes to excel and when we look at defenders, age should not be considered too great a barrier to success.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich