Hartlepool Utd skipper relishing Carlisle Utd derby clash

Sam Collins breaks forward as Pools look for an opening goal. Photograph by FRANK REID
Sam Collins breaks forward as Pools look for an opening goal. Photograph by FRANK REID

SAM Collins will be making the most of tomorrow’s visit of northern rivals Carlisle United – for the skipper wishes there were more derby dates.

Ninety miles separate The Cumbrians and Pools, yet it is still the closest League One fixture for Neale Cooper’s men.

And Yorkshire-born Collins admits he does not like the dearth of local adversaries.

“It’s the derby this weekend and it’s a shame there’s not more of them really,” said the 35-year-old, when asked if the visit of Carlisle could be classed as such.

“I end up classing a lot of the Yorkshire games as derbies as well, just because they’re quite close and, of course, it’s where I’m from.

“But this is a good one for the fans because there is that bit of rivalry and we’re both northern clubs.

“Down the years they’ve always been good games, especially for us last season.”

Collins is referring to the 4-0 smashing of Greg Abbot’s side in last year’s corresponding fixture, as well as the 2-1 triumph at Brunton Park.

It was in the home match that Luke James scored twice to reinforce his reputation as one of the league’s brightest, young talents.

And, with the 17-year-old having emerged from an early-season dip to score in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Scunthorpe United, Collins is backing him to again torment tomorrow’s opponents.

“Luke was brilliant against Carlisle last season,” he said.

“He’s had a bit of a dip recently.

“But it doesn’t matter who you are, young or old, you will have a bad patch and it’s about how you react.

“He come last weekend and scored so we all want him to kick on now and score a few more.

“That will give him confidence and he didn’t look like he had been struggling the way he took it.”

Collins went on: “He is a really nice young lad, who wants to learn.

“He doesn’t get carried away and comes in each day with a smile on his face.

“He’s a happy lad and everyone wants him to do well.

“He listens and wants to learn, takes things on board and when you get young kids like that then we have plenty of experienced players who will help and assist him – it’s the same with all the young players here.”