James Collins was delighted to score his fifth Luton Town hat-trick and guide his team towards a 3-0 victory against Preston North End yesterday.
The 30-year-old scored his seventh, eighth and ninth goal of the season in the win at Kenilworth Road and he did it in style – in front of 2,000 home supporters.
“I have been fortunate enough to score a few hat-tricks in my career but my first one in the Championship," said Collins.
“I did have that tag of being a League Two striker that gets you promoted, but I think I managed to get rid of that when I went up to League One, and hopefully now people can see that I can score goals in the Championship too.”
The credit for his first goal is largely thanks to the assist from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, who played an inch-perfect lob over the top of the Preston, and Collo latched onto it and finished in style.
“It was a great ball," he said. "We were working on it in the week and it got it down to a tee and put it on a plate for me, all I had to do was get a good touch and then put it away, so credit to him!”
The Hatters didn’t give their opponents a break all afternoon, pressing high to win back possession and creating a number of chances throughout the 90 minutes.
“I think the front three in general pressed really well today,” the striker agreed. “Harry was winning the ball high up, George was, and we put them under real pressure and made them make mistakes.”
Town now find themselves 11th in the Sky Bet Championship after stretching their home unbeaten run to four matches and the Republic of Ireland international was keen to praise the recruitment over the summer because he now believes that ‘we’ve got a brilliant squad.’
Continuing, Collo said: “We’ve got numbers, we’ve got some really, really good players in that squad.
“Then we’ve got lads that aren’t even getting on the pitch. As a team we recruited well in the summer and we’ve got young, hungry players. We brought some great lads in on loan as well so it’s a really good mix of experience and youth.”
It was the first time this season that 2,000 home supporters have been able to attend and Collins admitted: “It’s fantastic to have them in the stadium again.
“I love playing in front of these fans, they have been great to me ever since I signed for this football club so the more the merrier!”