Blue Square Bet
Published 14th June 2012
Striker Tom Collins promises to light up the Blue Square Bet Premier League next season with at least fifteen goals for his new club Stockport County.
And the forward has pledged to provide as many assists as goals if he’s played in his favourite support role in the hole just behind the main striker.
The 20-year-old came through the youth ranks at Stevenage before moving to Hayes in June 2011, where he found the net eight times in 35 appearances for relegated Hayes last term.
He arrives at Stockport with a growing reputation as a silky-skilled entertainer whose mazy dribbling skills have left the legs of some of the best defenders in the Conference tied in knots.
The Manchester United fan, who grew up idolising Old Trafford icon David Beckham, believes the Hatters are on the verge of the club’s most exciting season in years.
He said: “I came off the pitch after Hayes & Yeading’s final game of last season, which was at home against County, thinking what a great team they were.
“They were very well organised, a good passing side and played attack-minded football. I was massively impressed. And then a couple of hours later I was in talks to sign for them – it really was a bit of a dream move for me, to be honest.
“I met Jim Gannon a couple of times over the next week or two and was really excited by his vision for a young, hungry, energetic team playing exciting counter-attacking football. To be honest, it sounded like a perfect fit.”
That dream quickly became a reality as Collins signed on the dotted line for County on June 9th and the young entertainer has promised the Cheadle End won’t be disappointed when he turns out in Stockport’s blue and white next season.
“I’m looking to get at least fifteen goals next season. I’m hoping to play in the hole behind the main striker but I can play anywhere in the front third of the pitch.
“I’ve come here to play in a team pushing for promotion and from what I’ve seen, already playing against them at the end of last season, I’m 100% convinced that’s a realistic aim.”
He’s quick to counter any claims that he’s just an entertainer though. “I certainly won’t back out of taking a player on and trying to beat him,” he says.
“But I am here first and foremost to help this team win games. If I see a team-mate in a better position, then they’ll get the ball from me, no problem. I’m very much a team player, which is exactly what the gaffer wants from all his players here.
“Of course, I like to entertain the crowd, especially one the size of Stockport County’s and, I have to admit, I love scoring goals – who doesn’t? But I had a great assists record last season too. The way I see it, if I help Stockport County win games, score a few goals and help set up opportunities for the other strikers, then that will keep the fans entertained in the best way possible.”
Collins is yet to meet and greet the rest of his team-mates at Edgeley Park but moves up north to live in a shared house with a few of the other young braves recently signed up to fight the cause for the County faithful on June 30th.
“Two days later I’m in to train with the team for the first time. I can’t wait for that,” Collins says.
“Everyone in the Conference is talking about this great young team the gaffer is putting together and, having played against them – even though the team was still being assembled – towards the end of last season, I can see that with the new players we’ve added we’re going to be ones to watch when the season kicks off.
“I’ve signed for two years initially and I’m 100% convinced that we’ll get promoted in that time. I’m pretty sure we’ll be pushing for play offs this time and, who knows, if we get a bit of luck it might just be our year this time round.
“It’s a privilege to be part of all this and, to be honest, I just can’t wait to pull on that shirt and get cracking.”