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The striker hurt his hip in the Hatters' 0-0 draw with Lincoln City

7 September 2017

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Town boss Nathan Jones is expecting top scorer James Collins to be fit for this Saturday's home Sky Bet League Two match against Swindon Town.

The ex-Crawley Town forward hurt his hip in the first half last weekend against Lincoln City, but providing there aren't any late set-backs, the gaffer is expecting the 26-year-old to be involved.

Jones said: "He should be. He's come through training today, so as long as he doesn't have any adverse reaction, then I don't envisage there being any problems."

The forward has been nominated for League Two Player of the Month after netting five times in four games in August – and it's a selection that Jones is not surprised about.

"Of course, after the performances he's put in, five goals, and his all-round performances have been very good, scoring a hat-trick too," he continued. "I think there are a few who have got hat-tricks in the last month, but in terms of us he's vital. He leads the line very well and in the absence of Danny Hylton, he really took things upon himself. He's got to be one of the top players over the month, so it's very well deserved."

Luke Gambin and James Justin have returned to the Town squad following their international call-ups, with the pair now competing for a starting place in Jones' side.

The Welshmen continued: "They're both back and fit which is a bonus, both have had a little bit of game time, Luke less than JJ but it was a different calibre of game. We're pleased to have JJ back, it did him good really, in terms of getting the game time.

"He would have played this week for us in the development game against Northampton, but when you go away with your country and represent them, it gives you a little bit of a lift as well.

"So we're very pleased, very proud of the internationals we have at the club and JJ is one of them. He's come back and looks sharp."

Hatters midfielder Jordan Cook is closing in on 50 appearances since he joined us in summer 2016, but has come under scrutiny from some supporters recently.

Jones appealed to the Town faithful, asking them to back the player, with the manager pointing to his strong record in the transfer market as to why they should trust him on the quality that Cook brings.

"The fans see certain stuff, I want more from Jordan myself, but I just want them to remember, I don't think I've made massive errors in terms of recruitment, so just trust me. He's a fantastic footballer. When we've had real good results, you look at all our top results last year, Cookie played in every one of them.

"I believe in Cookie. He's quick, he's mobile, he's very committed, he came here as a 10, or a front man, but I've asked him to play in different positions. So if anything I've put him in certain areas that are new to him, then I should be getting more of the stick than Cookie. But let's not forget, sometimes it takes people time to settle.

"He's a fantastic footballer, he shows me that every single day so I believe in him and I'm going to continue to believe in him. I hope the fans will trust me on this one, because I don't think I've let them down too many times.

"He's a real good kid. I knew him from Charlton and he has to demand a little bit more from himself as I think that's the biggest problem. It's not that I don't believe in him, or the staff don't believe in him. I think at times he's got to demand more, but his overall contribution, I think is good.

"Yes, we want more from him. We want different things. I need more goals, need assists from him and an all-round contribution. I want that and I demand from him, because until he's dominated games then we won't be satisfied.

"But he's not a scapegoat as I see him every single day and trust me, everyone who sees him every single day knows that he's a fantastic footballer."

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