MICK Wadsworth admits that he wouldn’t want to bump into Sam Collins in the proverbial back alley after dark.
At 6ft 3ins with a shaven head and a meaty frame, the Pools skipper is the quintessential lower-league centre-back.
But Collins, man of the match and goalscorer during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle, is in fact, according to his manager, not only one of the best defender’s in the division but also one of the game’s true gentlemen.
“I must admit if Sam turned up at your door at ten o’clock at night you would be worried,” Wadsworth told SportMail.
“But he is a lovely guy, a real gentleman and his looks belie his gentility
“On the pitch, though, he’s a warrior, he leads by example and he’s had a terrific season.
“He’s been a massive player for us and is a massive character at the club.”
Indeed, Collins was the deserving recipient of Saturday’s star-man prize having nullified the threat of towering Kiwi Rory Fallon and highly-rated Joe Mason at one end, before chipping in with the crucial second goal at the other.
And it was a performance which delighted his boss.
“Sam was strong against a good forward line and at his best is as good as anything in this division,” added Wadsworth after the win which took his side onto the 50-point mark.
“He handled Rory Fallon well and you aren’t going to win every header against him, but we made good decisions when we couldn’t win the headers.
“We also kept the boy Mason quiet and as a team defended extremely well.”
Collins’ game-sealing goal arrived in the 64th-minute, bundling home on the line after Peter Hartley had headed Leon McSweeney’s far-post free-kick back into the goalmouth.
It was the 33-year-old’s first of the season and Wadsworth has now challenged him to add to that tally in the remaining 10 matches.
“Sam scored an important goal but he should get more,” he said.
“He’s a terrific, fearless header of the ball but his goals tally isn’t great.
“But this was an important one - we work hard on set-plays and Peter Hartley is disappointed as he thought it was going in!
“But I think Sam deserved it because he was terrific and just seconds later at the other end he made a fantastic last-ditch block which just goes to show what he is all about.”
Read the full story in Monday’s Mail ...