Hatters striker James Collins was delighted to get his account up and running for the season with a fantastic hat-trick in yesterday’s 3-1 victory against Norwich City.
The two sides were unable to break each other down until the 79th minute as Collo then went on to complete a three-goal haul in the space of 16 minutes to book Town’s place in the second round of the Carabao Cup.
“On a personal note I’m really delighted” the striker began. “To score a goal in a game is great but to score three is obviously fantastic for anyone. I think it was all about the result today, we came up against a good Norwich side even though they had a lot of players missing, still a really tough opposition and to come away with a win and get through to the next round is a big statement for us.”
The 29-year-old turned his disappointment from missing out on the Republic of Ireland squad into a positive and he knows that continuing to find the back of the net will only help his chances of getting back into the international set-up.
“As any player would be, I was obviously really disappointed I wasn’t involved but I’ve got to respect the decision. He (Stephen Kenny) gave me his reasons why and I’ve got to take it on the chin, all I can do to get back in that squad now is keep scoring goals and performing for Luton, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
After surviving on the final day of last season, Collins and the rest of the squad are keen to outperform their feat of a 19th place finish this time around.
“It is nice to start afresh but we want to continue what we did back end of last season. We had a bit of momentum there and we showed really good form in the last 15 games so we know that we need a good start this season and winning today can only help that.
“We have got our own targets,” Collo continued. “We know we need to perform better at times than we did last year and not leave it to the last 15 games. You have to remember that last year was our first crack at the Championship, so we were new to it. This year we’ve got no excuses really, we know all about it, we know how tough it is and we need to make sure everyone is at it, whoever plays and hopefully be a lot more successful.”
The Championship season begins next Saturday with a trip to Barnsley and the striker is very happy with how the squad is taking place.
“I think the five that re-signed all thoroughly deserved their new contracts because they have been brilliant for the club since they’ve been here. Delighted with that and I think the new lads who have come in, Rhys came in and made his debut today, I thought he was excellent. Clicker was brilliant as well and obviously we have people like Kaz who can come on and take the game away from teams, so I think the squad is shaping up well.”
And on their opponents, Collins added: “We know that Barnsley are a great outfit. They had a great back end to the season as well and stayed up on merit. They’re a good footballing side so next week is not going to be a given by any stretch of the imagination. We need to have a good week’s training and go up there and be right at it because it’s going to be a tough game.”