Collins overjoyed to reach 20 league goals in a Luton shirt

James Collins scores his 20th goal of the season for Luton on Saturday
James Collins scores his 20th goal of the season for Luton on Saturday

Striker James Collins was overjoyed to reach the milestone of 20 league goals for the Hatters this season, after coming so close last term.

The 28-year-old had managed 19 in League Two as the Hatters went up after finishing second in the table, a tally that definitely irked the striker over the summer months.

To get it this season is arguably a better achievement than getting it last year.

James Collins

There was no need to worry this time though as he rifled home his 20th in stoppage time during the 2-0 win over Rochdale to reach the personal landmark.

Speaking afterwards, Collins said: “I was gutted last year I didn’t get to it.

“I had six games to do it at the end of last year, promotion was the main aim, but once we got promoted, I was desperate to get there.

“It wasn’t to be last year, but it goes to show if you keep doing the right things and keep working hard, then you never know what will happen the season after.

“To get it this season is arguably a better achievement than getting it last year.”

This time around, Collins has reached the figure with 11 games still to go, as he is on a run of 13 goals in his past 16 matches.

He has also netted two hat-tricks already, and on making it 20 at the start of March, he continued: “Personally for me, this season has been excellent.

“I just want to keep going, keep trying to get more and the more goals I score, the more chances we’ve got of winning games.

“That’s the most important thing at this stage of the season, winning games, the prize at the end of it is special.”

Collins, whose best ever total in a season is 22 while at Crawley in the 2016-17 campaign, was once again thankful to Kazenga LuaLua for providing yet another assist at the weekend.

It was still a top finish from Collins though, fairly hammering the ball past Andy Lonergan with his left foot, as he said: “For me personally, Kaz has been excellent.

“He’s set up a lot of my goals and I said to him, ‘I owe him so much,’ because he’s so selfless and so quick and powerful.

“He commits people, he commits bodies to the ball land, then just passes it off to us and we get the glory.

“I’ve just said to him ‘thank you very much.’ I’m just delighted he could set me up and thankfully I tucked it away to see the game out.

“Kaz did all the hard work, I just had to keep the ball down and get it on target as it was pretty much an open goal, so I was delighted to see it go in the back of the net.”

Team-mate Danny Hylton thought the finish deserve more credit, as he said: “It wasn’t an easy chance for Collo, it’s a great finish, and that’s what he’s been doing all season.

“He’s a goalscorer, he works hard and he’s got his goal.”

Meanwhile, boss Mick Harford, a forward of some repute for the club during his playing days, said: “It was a sublime finish.

“To get your 20th goal on a finish like that, we were absolutely thrilled for him.

“Collo deserves that because of the way he goes about his business, the way he works on a Saturday afternoon and the way he works on a daily basis.

“He’s been great for us and to get 20 goals is a great achievement.”