Collins: I’d love to be Hartlepool United skipper again

Sam Collins.

Sam Collins.

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SAM Collins has spoken for the first time about the decision to strip him of the captaincy last season.

The 36-year-old is among the contenders to lead Pools into League Two this term, manager Colin Cooper choosing to explore the candidates in his squad.

Last season’s skipper Peter Hartley, Antony Sweeney and Neil Austin are also at the forefront of the manager’s thinking with regards the armband.

And Collins admits he would welcome the chance to regain the responsibility.

The centre-back was replaced as skipper last October having struggled for form under ex-boss Neale Cooper.

Centre-back partner Hartley retained the duty during Micky Barron’s caretaker tenure and then under subsequent boss John Hughes.

And Collins, who will line up against Middlesbrough at Victoria Park tomorrow afternoon, reflected: “I wasn’t happy that I’d had it taken off me and the way it happened.

“But I was never going to sulk and I had no problem with Pete whatsoever.

“I spoke to Pete when it happened and I said to him ‘listen, this could be a very good thing for your career and will bring you on as a player as well’.

“I told him to enjoy it and take on the responsibility.

“It was just one of those things which you’ve got to get on with.”

Midfielder Sweeney led the team during this month’s tour of Holland and then again at Whitby Town on Wednesday.

Cooper admits there are several senior players under consideration.

And Collins insists there will be a resolve to rally behind the captain, no matter the identity.

“Going into this season I don’t know who will be captain,” he went on.

“I’ve been a captain most of my career, so if it’s me then great, if not then I’ll be right behind whoever it is because, as a team, we’re determined to make up for last season.

“We’ve all got a point to prove and we can’t wait for the season to get started.”