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Four-goal Collins not guaranteed starting spot
EVEN four goals as a substitute was not enough to guarantee Swindon Town striker James Collins a starting spot for the visit of Carlisle this weekend, according to his manager Paolo Di Canio.
Collins became the first Town player to ever to come off the bench and score more than twice as he helped rout Portsmouth 5-0 on New Year’s Day, recording his second hat-trick of the campaign in the process.
Having upped his goal tally for the term to 12, making him Swindon’s top scorer, you could be forgiven for thinking that the young forward would be an automatic pick for Di Canio when the Cumbrians come calling on Saturday.
However, as has been his mantra throughout his time in charge in Wiltshire, Di Canio will not pick him team on their previous matchday performances alone, and that means Collins will have had to impress in training if he wants to line up from the start this afternoon.
Di Canio said: “If he trains rubbish then maybe not. If he starts to jump and dance on the field, why does he have to play? I want to play with the players who guarantee me the best from the beginning of the game, who don’t go blurry and don’t fly away.
“If he trains well he’s got a chance, like Chris Martin, to play. In half an hour he scored four goals, that was good but it does not mean he will play.
“He’s not guaranteed a place because he scored four goals. Obviously he’s in a better position at the moment, I’m not stupid, but he has to train very well and convince me that he deserves to play since the beginning.
“We are not Messi, Xavi or Iniesta. If they convince me during the training sessions then they have a place, even if they missed three goals or scored two goals.
“At the moment, if he doesn’t go crazy then he has a big advantage.”