Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Collins Welcomes Cats Fight for Places

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Collins Welcomes Cats Fight for Places

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

DANNY Collins has welcomed former team-mate George McCartney's return to the Stadium of Light but is adamant it will not end his impressive record as Roy Keane's favourite Black Cat.

McCartney and Anton Ferdinand arrived from West Ham United in the last week of Premier League transfer business.

McCartney plays left-back, where Collins has made most of his Sunderland appearances, and Ferdinand centre-half, his preferred position and the one he has filled in every match this season.

In many people's eyes that spells the end of Collins' run in the first team but despite having seemingly had his Sunderland career written off on a bi-annual basis ever since joining, the Welshman has played in 77 of the 85 games Keane has overseen. Given the astonishing changes in that time it is an impressive statistic Collins intends to protect.

"I've played more games than anyone under the gaffer so there's not a lot more I can do than that," he said. "Anton has come in so it will be me, Nyron (Nosworthy) and Anton pushing for the two shirts (at centre-back). I've just got to work hard."

As one of the few survivors of McCartney's first spell, ended a little over two years ago, Collins is delighted to see the 27-year-old back.

"He's a good player, he gets up and down the flank and he's a good lad," said Collins. "It will be good to get him back on board and will only help the competition for places.

"I'm not going to say a bad word about any of the other players because we've had a pretty solid start, apart from the second half against Manchester City. You couldn't just blame the defence because we conceded three goals, as a team I don't think we played well."

The 3-0 hammering at home to City punctured the excitement building since Keane began his impressive summer shopping spree. Collins therefore believes the current international break will help his side.

"It's nice to have a bit of a break and a couple of easier days in training," he said. "It was a bad result last week and we need to get our heads together. There's a few boys away with their countries so they'll have the chance to get their minds off it and those of us here will as well. …

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