STRIKER James Collins is hoping to do something he knows he should already have managed when Town face Shrewsbury tomorrow - score a goal against his former club.
The 22-year-old started Town’s visit to Shropshire in September and received a mixed reception from his former fans, but their boos turned to cheers just before the break as the forward fired a shot over the bar from five yards with the goal gaping.
Town’s leading marksman gets another chance to show his former club what they are missing at the County Ground tomorrow, and is hoping to continue his good recent scoring run which has taken him to 10 for the season.
“The staff and the players were all happy to see me and were very welcoming, and the fans saw a different side and I got a few boos, but there were a few that said welcome back which is part and parcel of the game,” he said.
“We got a great win away at Shrewsbury earlier in the season, and maybe I should have scored in that game but it wasn’t to be so hopefully if I get on the pitch I will get that goal I would love to get against my old team.
“At the moment I seem to be doing okay in front of goal, although at Bournemouth that probably wasn’t the case, but I am happy to be in double figures for the season because that was my aim by January, and hopefully now I can get another goal and help the boys kick on.”
Collins turned down the offer of a new contract at New Meadow to move to Wiltshire in the summer, and he believes Town’s current position amongst the promotion contenders vindicates his decision.
“I left Shrewsbury and joined Swindon because I believe they have a better chance of going up to the Championship this year, and the table at the moment suggests I was right,” he said.
“I think we have just got to keep our heads down and take each game as it comes, because we saw Tranmere lost again last night and we have two games in hand which if we win we will be right on their tails.
“To me since Eddie Howe took over Bournemouth have been one of the main contenders to go up, and I also think Sheffield United are good contenders because they never seem to lose.
“There are three or four who are the main contenders, and we are definitely in there.”
Collins was always confident he would find the net during his first season with Town, but is not content to stop having reached double figures.
“This is my first year in League One so in that respect I am a little surprised, but I was always confident I could make the step up from League Two and maybe get double figures in 20 starts is a great return for any striker,” he said.
“If I get in the 20s it would be a massive achievement for me, but I got 16 last season so if I could beat that, even if I scored 17 or 25 I would be even more happy.”
The Republic of Ireland international has faced competition for his spot in the side since Chris Martin signed from Norwich, and although the loanee has not found the net Collins is convinced the goals will come.
“Chris came in over Christmas and did very well and got fitter and stronger, and maybe the gaffer thought that he and Willo were the pair to do the job, and that is what I needed and the goals against Portsmouth got me back on track and got my confidence back, and I am grateful for that,” he said.
“He hasn’t managed to get his goal yet, but I am a big believer in once one comes another will follow, and Chris is a great lad so if he gets his first goal maybe he will keep going.
“What he does outside the box is great too and helps the team.”