Irish call would be the 'pinnacle' of Collins' career

Town striker James Collins celebrates his goal against Rochdale on Saturday
Town striker James Collins celebrates his goal against Rochdale on Saturday

A call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad this week would be the ‘pinnacle’ of Luton striker James Collins’ career according to the forward himself.

The 28-year-old bagged his 20th of the season in front of a watching Mick McCarthy, with the national boss admitted that Town’s leading striker was in serious contention for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia when he announces his squad on Thursday.

Although Collins would be absent for Town’s home game with Doncaster on Saturday, March 23, he said: “I know I’d miss a big game in the Doncaster one at home, but I think people could forgive me if I do end up going away.

“For me personally, career-wise, it’s everything, it’s the pinnacle of anyone’s career playing for their country.

“So if I do get the chance to do that, then we’ve got a good enough squad here to maintain that run going.”

Collins has also been watched by assistant coach Robbie Keane in the recent 3-0 win over Wycombe, but admitted that no-one had made contact with him over his chances.

The ex-Crawley and Northampton front man hoped that McCarthy was still in attendance when he smashed past Andy Lonergan in stoppage time, saying: “No, I’ve not spoken to anyone from Ireland.

“I know the squad gets announced on Thursday so fingers crossed I hear something in the week.

“I don’t think I could do much more though.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind, they’ve came to watch me a couple of times and I just try working hard and not changing too much."

“I keep trying to do the right things and keep trying to score goals and whether he’s (McCarthy) here for not for my goal, I don’t know.

"Hopefully he’ll see I managed to squeeze one in at the end and hopefully that will help make his mind up.”

Town boss Mick Harford added: “I hope he (McCarthy) was here, but Mick will see how hard he works, what a good team player he is.

"He's got good movement in the box, his hold-up play was good, aerially he’ll be fine.

"It will be a great accolade for Collo if he does get called up.”