‘Hopefully I can bring experience and guidance’ - Town complete Collins signing in time to face Rotherham

PUBLISHED: 13:53 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:53 11 January 2019

Ipswich Town have signed James Collins on a free transfer. Picture: ITFC

Ipswich Town have signed James Collins on a free transfer. Picture: ITFC

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Ipswich Town have completed the signing of free agent central defender James Collins.

Collins has signed a deal until the end of the season. Picture: ITFCCollins has signed a deal until the end of the season. Picture: ITFC

The 35-year-old Welshman has been training with the Blues this week and has now signed a deal until the end of the season.

He will wear the No.39 shirt and was signed in time to feature against Rotherham tomorrow afternoon.

“I’m delighted,” the 35-year-old said after signing. “Obviously I was here a few months back and it didn’t work out but I’ve been welcomed back by the manager and all the lads and I can’t wait to get cracking.

“I’ve kept myself fit since then and Paul gave me a call to come back. We’ve got a deal done so I’m looking forward to getting out on the pitch.

James Collins has been a free agent since leaving West Ham. Picture: PAJames Collins has been a free agent since leaving West Ham. Picture: PA

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“This is a young side under a bit of pressure because of the league position and hopefully I can help with some experience and guidance and we can get some good results.

“We feel this is definitely a squad that can get out of this situation and with a few January signings we should be able to start picking up wins.

Manager Paul Lambert added: “James has a great presence about him and that can be huge for us.

“He has played at the highest level and his experience will be vital. We’re delighted to have him here.”

Collins trained with the Blues in the summer and was subsequently offered a contract by former boss Paul Hurst, but injury saw that spell cut short and the potential move fell through.

He agreed a five-week contract with Aston Villa in December, only to suffer a calf injury in his first training session with the club and he opted to tear up the contract.

MORE: ‘We’re not just a stepping stone for somebody else’ - Lambert on need for Town to keep young stars

James progressed through the youth ranks at Cardiff before going on to make 67 League appearances for the first-team.

He joined West Ham in 2005 and spent four years with the London club, then headed to Aston Villa in a reported £5m move.

After clocking up more than 100 Premier League games, he returned to West Ham in 2012 and spent another six years with the Hammers, taking his tally of games for the club beyond 200.

He has capped 51 times by Wales.

Collins has won 51 caps for Wales. Picture: PACollins has won 51 caps for Wales. Picture: PA

Lambert had already completed four deals this month with Callum Elder (Leicester, loan), Will Keane (Hull, loan), Collin Quaner (Huddersfield, loan) and free agent Simon Dawkins arriving.

MORE: ‘I am looking forward to scoring goals’ – assurance of striker role attracted Quaner to Ipswich

With a deal now completed for Collins, Lambert still hopes to bring in further signings.

“We’ll try and do something but we can’t keep flooding the place with loans, because you can only have five in the matchday squad,” the Ipswich boss continued.

“That’s where the loan system falls down because you then have to manage them, which is difficult in itself. That’s why the loan market isn’t something I would ideally want to do.”

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