New signing Collins targeting third promotion with the Cobblers

FRESH START - James Collins
FRESH START - James Collins

Striker James Collins is targeting a third promotion from Sky Bet League Two after signing on loan for the Cobblers until the end of the season.

The 25-year-old today agreed to leave struggling league one outfit Shrewsbury Town to join the Northampton promotion push, and he is already setting his sights on a top three finish in May.

Collins has previously won promotions with Shrewsbury in 2012 and 2015, and he is confident of making it a hat-trick at Sixfields in 2016.

He is joining a Cobblers team riding high in second place in the table, and although Collins admits it was a difficult decision to drop down a level, he believes his stay in the basement division of the Football League is going to be a brief one.

“The move has come about very quickly,” said Collins, who began his career as a trainee at Aston Villa and has also played for Burton Albion, Swindon Town and Hibernian.

“I found out about the interest last Thursday, and then played the game at weekend.

“I then found out Monday that the interest had got stronger, and I am here today, so it has happened rapidly.

“I have spoken to the gaffer, I am really impressed with the way he goes about things, and I am looking forward to getting started.

“It was a big decision, but for me once I had spoken to the gaffer and listened to the way he wants to do things, with my experience of getting promoted out of league two, I was confident I could come down and help Northampton, getting a third promotion from this league on my CV.”

Collins is something of a crowd favourite at Shrewsbury, having spent two stints there in which he has scored 48 goals in 129 starts, and admits it is a wrench to leave the club - particularly following Saturday’s 7-1 hammering at Chesterfield.

“I think there are some budget issues at Shrewsbury, and it’s not been going the way we wanted it to,” said Collins, who has represented the Republic Of Ireland at under-19 and under-21 level.

“I spoke to the gaffer there (Micky Mellon) and we thought it would be best for all parties for me to make way and free up some money, and for me to come to Northampton and to get back to scoring some goals.”

Looking back on his final game for the Shrews against the Spireites, Collins, who has seven goals to his name this season, admitted: “It wasn’t a nice way to leave at all.

“It’s never nice to leave a football club that you have been at for a while, but to leave on the back of a 7-1 defeat made it even worse.

“But I think coming to Northampton is a positive step for me, and I am just looking forward to getting started.”