Collins relishing derby battle with Cumbrians

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SAM Collins will be making the most of tomorrow’s visit of northern rivals Carlisle United – for the Hartlepool United skipper wishes there were more derby dates.

Ninety miles separate the Cumbrians and Pools, yet it is still the closest League One fixture for Neale Cooper’s men.

And Yorkshire-born Collins admits he does not like the dearth of local adversaries.

“It’s the derby this weekend and it’s a shame there’s not more of them really,” said the 35-year-old.

“I end up classing a lot of the Yorkshire games as derbies as well, just because they’re quite close and, of course, it’s where I’m from.

“But this is a good one for the fans because there is that bit of rivalry and we’re both northern clubs.

“Down the years they’ve always been good games, especially for us last season.”

Collins was referring to the 4-0 smashing of Greg Abbot’s side in last year’s corresponding fixture, as well as the 2-1 triumph at Brunton Park.

It was in the home match that striker Luke James scored twice to reinforce his reputation as one of the league’s brightest, young talents.

And, with the 17-year-old having emerged from an early-season dip to score in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Scunthorpe United, Collins is backing him to again torment tomorrow’s opponents.

“Luke was brilliant against Carlisle last season,” he said. “He’s had a bit of a dip recently. But it doesn’t matter who you are, young or old, you will have a bad patch and it’s about how you react.

“He come last weekend and scored so we all want him to kick on now and score a few more.”