Collins: We can’t just rely on one or two players

James Collins converts his penalty against Birmingham on Saturday
James Collins converts his penalty against Birmingham on Saturday

Town’s leading scorer James Collins has urged his team-mates to step up after their 2-1 defeat against Birmingham City on Saturday.

The Hatters looked shorn of confidence for the majority of their 18th loss this campaign at the weekend, with only really Kazenga LuaLua's trickery and substitute George Moncur's impact catching the eye.

Collins knows Luton need more than just two of their side playing anywhere near their potential if they are to remain a Championship club next season.

He said: “Moncs is always going to give you that threat going forward and Kaz was excellent as well.

“He gave us a lot of spark, but we can’t just rely on two players to win us a game.

“We need to be more resilient and take our chances.”

Town had given themselves an opportunity to get something from the game, as after trailing to Lukas Jutkiewicz’s early header, they were back on level terms through Collins’ successful spot-kick on the hour, his ninth goal of the season.

However, they were only level for seven minutes, midfielder Gary Gardner grabbing the winner after some poor Luton defending, as Collins continued: “At the minute, I’m designated penalty taker and I’m always confident to put it away.

“I was delighted to get us back on level terms, but obviously when you lose 2-1 it doesn’t really count for much.

“It’s never nice to lose games, the lads and everyone involved is really disappointed because we got ourselves back in the game after a poor first half performance.

“Then we’ve got hit on the break again and conceded again and couldn’t equalise, so the dressing room’s a bit disappointed.

“After we scored, we were gaining momentum and looked like the team who were going to score again.

“But we dwelled on it in the middle of the pitch and they’ve hit us on the break and that’s really what they wanted to do.

“They wanted to make it difficult for us to play, hit us on the break and again maybe we didn’t learn from that either.”

Town came close late on when Collins backheeled a long ball into the path of Sonny Bradley, who had been thrown upfront for the closing stages, but his effort was saved by the legs of Blues keeper Lee Camp.

Collins said: “Sonny’s a centre half, he found himself in the box and he couldn’t have done any more.

“He’s got it on target but the keeper’s saved it.

“Those are the sort of things that are going against us at the minute.

“We can’t really rely on last minute chances to save games though, we need to make sure we do better during the game.”

With 19 matches left now, Town need to start picking up points and quickly if they are going to avoid being cut adrift at the bottom of the table.

To do that, Collins feels they need to be a bit smarter during the 90 minutes, saying: “The way that the lad (Gardner) got in and hit us on the break is maybe a bit naive from us.

“We’ve got to learn that when we get back in the game, maybe not be so naive.

“Maybe stick in there and we’ll be the ones to go on and get the winner, because I’d rather be coming in here with a point than with no points.

“I don’t know if it’s down to confidence, it’s down to being unlucky at times, maybe not being clinical enough when chances have come our way.

“But we can’t keep going one or two goals down and expecting to come back and win.

“We need to be more resilient as a team, and try and get that first goal.

“As you’ve seen in previous games, Bristol City and games like that, when we have scored first, we’ve gone on to win.”