Collins knew writing was on the wall at Cobblers

Lee Collins in action during his time at Cobblers (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Lee Collins in action during his time at Cobblers (picture: Sharon Lucey)
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Lee Collins admits he got the hint he wouldn’t be handed a new deal at Cobblers a few weeks before the end of last season.

And the centre-back is now relishing a new challenge after joining Northampton’s Sky Bet League Two rivals Mansfield Town.

Collins was one of seven players allowed to leave at the conclusion of the previous campaign, ending his two-year association with the club.

The 26-year-old made 82 starts in Cobblers colours, turning out for the club 43 times last season.

But he has revealed that he could see the signs of his departure before Town finished their fixtures.

“I sort of got the hint a few weeks before the end of the season that I wasn’t going to be there,” Collins 
said.

“I didn’t let it affect my performances, but I knew in the back of my mind that I was going to have to move on.

“That’s football though – it comes with the territory.”

He added: “I think I played 43 games last year, so I’m obviously coming into this season on the back of quite a busy season and I just want to get back into playing games again.”

Collins played for Cobblers at Mansfield last season, helping Chris Wilder’s men to a 1-1 draw in February.

The day was dubbed ‘John-Joe O’Toole Day’ by the travelling fans, who saw the enigmatic midfielder dismissed during the first half of the game.

And Collins said: “John-Joe O’Toole Day was a big occasion for Northampton fans. We brought about 1,000 fans and he got sent-off after 30 minutes.

“I thought we were quite lucky to get away with a 1-1 draw, because Mansfield really gave us a game. The [home] fans were passionate and got right behind the team.”

And Collins is now eager to help his new club claim promotion next season.

He said: “I came and had a sit down meeting with the manager and coaching staff last week and their plans for going forward really interested me so it was quite an easy decision.

“They want to play attacking football. They want to give the fans something to be happy about and I was happy with what they were saying.

“They want to win games, I want to win games and that’s why I’ve come here. I don’t know any lad that goes into a fresh season and doesn’t want to get promoted.

“There’s been a lot of good signings and I want to win a lot of games. If you do that, you’re going to be up there.”