Collins training with Town as talks continue

PUBLISHED: 16:18 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:21 04 September 2018

James Collins was released by West Ham this summer but has continued training with the club to maintain his fitness. Photo: PA

James Collins was released by West Ham this summer but has continued training with the club to maintain his fitness. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Veteran defender James Collins is training with Ipswich Town as the two parties remain in discussions over a potential contract.

The 35-year-old was released by West Ham this summer and, as a free agent, can sign for any club even though the transfer window is shut.

Blues boss Paul Hurst is keen to add a fourth centre-back to his squad to provide competition for captain Luke Chambers, Toto Nsiala and Everton loanee Matthew Pennington.

MORE: Eight Ipswich Town questions that must be answered after the international break

Collins has been capped 51 times by Wales and made more than 200 appearances for the Hammers over two spells either side of a stint at Aston Villa. He said he was ‘heartbroken’ to be let go and many supporters have called for him to be re-signed in recent weeks.

Speaking about his interest in Collins following Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Norwich City, Blues boss Hurst said: “We spoke to him last week and are due to have another conversation. I wouldn’t particularly rule it out. It’s certainly not a case of him just coming in to sign paperwork, but it’s something we will look at.”

MORE: ‘I do wonder what the future holds... hopefully the owner will be in contact’ – Knudsen on contract situation

Town were in talks with defender Gareth McAuley last week but the 38-year-old Northern Ireland international, who was released by West Brom in the summer, has signed for Scottish side Rangers.

Hurst has allowed homegrown defender Luke Woolfenden to join League Two side Swindon Town on loan for the season, though the club does have the option of a January recall.

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