Collins aims to lead by example

11 October 2010 08:30

Aston Villa defender James Collins has vowed to take on-field responsibility for keeping Wales' Euro 2012 qualification dreams alive.

Welsh hopes of reaching the finals in Ukraine and Poland are in tatters after defeat in their opening Group G qualifier in Montenegro was followed by another loss to Bulgaria on Friday.

Collins accepts the odds of coming through a group that also includes England are already long, and said: "Obviously it's going to be very difficult now to get to even second place. You can't expect to lose your first two games and qualify, so everyone has got to up their performance, starting with me as one of the oldest guys in the squad."

He added: "(caretaker boss) Brian (Flynn) is obviously disappointed, he's come in for the two games and he wanted to do well, as we all do.

"Coming off the back off a defeat everyone is going to be disappointed for a day or so, but you have to lift yourself for the next game.

"We go into every game wanting to win, so there's no difference on Tuesday night.

"Obviously it's going to be tough over there, but that's what we've got to look to do."

Collins, with 36 caps, is now the most experienced member of Flynn's squad.

That mantle was held by Sam Ricketts (41 caps) on Friday but the Bolton defender is now suspended after collecting his second booking of the competition.

The sending off of Chris Gunter has robbed Flynn of another experienced defender while key midfielder Joe Ledley has returned home to be with his expectant partner.

Source: PA