NEILL Collins hopes to celebrate his half-century of Sheffield United appearances in style at Bury.
The former Preston North End and Leeds defender is expected to wear the famous red and white stripes for the 50th time today when Danny
Wilson’s side make the short journey to Gigg Lane.
With Wilson urging every member of his squad to make an
impact in the opposition’s final third, Collins is determined to follow the lead of midfielder Michael Doyle by breaking his duck in front of goal.
“I’m a little bit jealous when I see Michael stick one in the net,” Collins said. “But myself and Harry (Maguire) have been working on making sure us centre-halves start chipping in as well.
“I always used to score a few in the past but I’ve not got one yet for United. I’m not too worried, though, because I have been getting on the end of things so, sooner or later, one of them is going to get put away.”
Doyle, a teammate of Collins at Elland Road, opened his United account with a superb long-range strike during the midweek victory over Yeovil.
Wilson, speaking at yesterday’s pre-match press conference, once again claimed that players will not be chastised for trying to be creative, saying: “With the quality some of these lads have got we should be seeing a bigger return in that area from them but they’re unselfish.
“Ched (Evans) is the other way around. He takes what comes if he misses and I’ll have that every time because, percentage wise, he does it so often you know he’ll put the ball in the back of the net more often than not. If these lads didn’t have the quality then I wouldn’t bother my backside with them. But they have.”
United climbed to second in the table after dispatching Yeovil 4-0 in midweek and nearly 5,000 of their supporters could travel to Greater Manchester after Bury released extra tickets for sale.
Collins said: “The backing we’ve had on the road this season has been something else. It inspires us and it drives you on so it really is appreciated.
“Of course, it can have the same effect on the home team too but I think we’ve shown we can embrace it well.”
United head west having won 10 of their previous 11 games and seemingly well-placed to make an instant return to Championship following relegation last term.
Collins, praising the contribution Wilson and assistant Frank Barlow have made since arriving at Bramall Lane in May, insisted the club’s experienced players also ensured their teammates were in the right frame of mind to tackle what he described as “the toughest League One competition in years”.
“The gaffer and his staff have been brilliant, very level-headed,” said Collins. “It was a great job to take but arguably the toughest - at that time - in the game too.
“But we as players also said that there aren’t any divine rights in League One.”