HARTLEPOOL United captain Sam Collins insists he is “feeling better than ever” after putting pen to paper on a new contract at Victoria Park.
The centre-back, who turns 34 next month, became the first Pools player of the summer to secure his future after agreeing a one-year extension to his current deal yesterday.
Collins, though, still hopes to be at The Vic beyond next season, saying that he gets as much enjoyment from the game today as he did 17 years ago when he was a trainee at Huddersfield Town.
“I’m 34 next month but I honestly feel as good as I ever have done,” said the stalwart skipper.
“I’ve looked after myself well and want to carry on playing for as long as possible.
“I might be a bit stiff on a Sunday morning now, but I’ve had no problem playing Saturday and then Tuesday this season. I still get as much as a buzz from the game now as I did as a teenager.
“I just love coming in every day and still get such a buzz from being with the lads, training and playing matches.”
Collins hopes that his signature is the first of many among his team-mates with the out-of-contract players set to meet with chairman Ken Hodcroft, chief executive Russ Green and manager Mick Wadsworth tomorrow.
“We’ve got a very good squad here at the moment,” he went on.
“We’ve got a lot of players of a good age such as Evan Horwood, Peter Hartley and Gary Liddle, who still have that potential to improve.
“We’ve had a great season this year and there’s a chance to kick on now.”
Collins has played 49 times this season, only a medial knee ligament injury suffered in the New Year curtailing his impressive appearance record.