A fortnight ago, MOMS reported the it had been suggested that Villa boss Steve Bruce had sounded out former Aston Villa centre-back James Collins regarding joining Villa on a free. With Villa short on centre-backs, on the face of it, it was for Chris Samba-like casual cover, as opposed to playing week-in, week-out, alongside James Chester.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Collins has now been invited to train with the Villa squad by Bruce, for a trial, with a view to join as a free agent.
The former Welsh international had trained with Ipswich previously in the close season after leaving West Ham, but it seems a muscle injury put a stop to that opportunity developing into anything more permanent.
“I made no secret of the fact we wanted to do something there but I stand by the fact he wasn’t fit at the time,” said Ipswich boss Paul Hurst. “That was what was best for the football club.”
There was also interest from Stoke City too.
If Collins manages to earn a free agent contract, then Collins will be playing under his forth Villa manager, having already played under Martin O’Neill, Gérard Houllier and Alex McLeish during his previous three years at Villa between 2009 and 2012.
On his wish to extend his playing career, Collins had spoken recently on BBC Radio 5 Live a few weeks ago.
“I’d go anywhere, you can only go where you’re wanted,” said Collins. “I love football. I’m 35 but I’ve never been the quickest anyway and I’ve never had the pace to lose. I’ve adapted my game around that.
“West Ham didn’t get off to the best of starts [this season] and I’m training there as they were talking about defending. In the back of my head I was probably thinking that if I do all right there might be a chance. But that wasn’t going to happen.
“There haven’t been people banging the door down but I’ve spoken to a few clubs. It was quite well known that I was training at Ipswich and Stoke, I’m still in contact with them. I would go anywhere. I love playing football, still do, and I’ve got plenty in the legs.”