Collins buoyed by Wales recall
Stoke defender Danny Collins will join the Wales squad for the first time in three years with a spring in his step. The 30-year-old celebrated his recall to the international stage with another impressive performance on Saturday as Stoke beat Blackburn 1-0 to stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to five games. Collins is now looking forward to the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland. He fell out of favour when John Toshack was in charge but caretaker manager Brian Flynn has given him a chance to build on his seven caps and he intends to take it. Collins said: "Brian came to the training ground and had a word with me. I am looking forward to the games as we have some good young players coming through. "I am 30 now, so I am not getting any younger and you want to get as many caps as you can." Curiously the last time Collins featured for Wales was against Bulgaria in 2007 and he added: "We won 1-0 even though we were battered in possession. It would be nice if we could repeat that." A goal from former Blackburn youth team player Jon Walters in the 47th minute, following a good build up involving Kenwyne Jones and Matthew Etherington, propelled Stoke into the top half of the table. Collins said: "It is very tight in the league but if we keep churning out results like this we will be fine. "It was a tough battle but it was our first clean sheet in the league this season and as a defender that's all you can hope for. "Jon nicked a good goal on the break and I am enjoying being in a team that is in a good run of form." Stoke were good value for their win and built on the victory at Newcastle on Sunday with wingers Etherington and Jermaine Pennant causing Blackburn constant problems. However manager Tony Pulis is refusing to get carried away. He said: "We are moving along nice and steadily. We will develop the club and the team in a good manner. Hopefully we will secure our status in the Premier League. "We have got to keep our feet on the ground and keep pushing on. This is a relentless league. You get good runs, you get bad runs. You have just got to keep level and we will do that." Blackburn looked light in attack but manager Sam Allardyce knows he does not have the budget to buy a proven striker. He was interested in taking Jones to Ewood Park in the summer from Sunderland. Instead he joined Stoke for £8million and has already weighed in with four goals. Allardyce said: "We cannot find enough money to buy a Kenwyne Jones, who scores goals or someone of that ilk. "We have to forage away with what we have got and work on the younger end, which is Nikola Kalinic and Mame Diouf. We have to maximise our chances when they come." Allardyce was disappointed at the way Walters - who began his professional career at Bolton under the manager - was allowed to score. He added: "You don't often see our central defenders messing it up like that to let a nothing situation develop into a goal-scoring situation. Bog-standard, basic defending has let us down."
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