IT’S not often Sam Collins is thrown on as a half-time substitute in a bid to protect a lead in danger of being squandered.
But that’s what happened at Carlisle United on Saturday with Pools two goals to the good at the interval despite a string of close shaves in their own penalty area.
And so Mick Wadsworth turned to his skipper, just back from a three-game hamstring absence, in an effort to guide his troops through to full-time.
It was an undertaking in which Collins excelled, Pools doggedly resisting Cumbrian advances to emerge with a hard-fought 2-1 triumph.
And the veteran leader told SportMail today: “I loved that second half, I have to say.
“It’s not often I’ve come on as a sub at half-time.
“I’ve not really trained much either, only on Thursday and Friday this week, and I wasn’t that sure how my hamstring would react.
“I went out to warm up at half-time and Micky Barron told me I was on so I had to get in shape quickly.
“The amount of crosses they put into the box was frightening.
“The manager decided to change it and I’m one of the bigger lads and that’s the manager’s decision, that’s why he is doing so well.”
Collins, though, admits he had cut a frustrating figure in the visiting dugout during the opening period and wasn’t too happy he’d had to settle for a place on the bench.
“All during the first-half I was wanting to get on and I hate being on the bench,” said the 34-year-old centre-back.
“I just want to play. I was probably sulking a little bit on Friday and Saturday and the gaffer knew it, but that’s just the way I am and I wanted to be out there.”
FULL story in Monday’s