Shrewsbury Town: Captain Collins was 'like Superman' - Mellon

Shrewsbury striker James Collins celebrates his FA Cup winner at Gainsborough
James Collins had not scored in six games before his FA Cup first round winner at Gainsborough

Shrewsbury Town manager Micky Mellon says that giving striker James Collins the captain's armband for their FA Cup first round win at Gainsborough Trinity made him play "like Superman".

Collins was made skipper in place of the absent Liam Lawrence on his return to the team - and Mellon is looking to him to maintain those standards.

"He was brilliant," said Mellon. "The armband made him like Superman.

"He took the responsibility of being the captain and played like one."

The Town boss told BBC Radio Shropshire: "He really led the charge. Having the armband seemed to give him a real impact. But he has to do it all the time. He hasn't been the James Collins we all know."

Collins was Shrewsbury's 17-goal top scorer last season when he helped the Shropshire club celebrate promotion back to League One for the second time in three years, having scored 16 when Town went up in 2012.

Collins' Irish connection
Coventry-born former Aston Villa trainee James Collins represented the Republic of Ireland both at Under-19 level and with the Under-21s, for whom he scored a hat-trick against Liechtenstein.

He had scored just four goals prior to the Gainsborough game and had lost his place to loan signing Sullay Kaikai, who was not given permission to play in the FA Cup by parent club Crawley.

But Mellon wants to keep the pressure on the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international to build on his matchwinning contribution - and maybe even catch the eye of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane ahead of next summer's Euro 2016 finals.

"He's a talent," said Mellon. "I keep being tough on him as I want him to be good. I want him threatening to get into the Republic of Ireland squad."

After being without a game last weekend, as then leaders Walsall had too many international calls, 17th-placed Shrewsbury return to League One action on Saturday with the first of two tough away trips in four days.

They go to fifth-placed Wigan Athletic before travelling to eighth-placed Sheffield United next Tuesday.

Defeat in both could plunge Mellon's men back into the League One relegation zone - and the Town boss has the dilemma of whether to stick with a winning team, having made a host of changes following Town's 2-0 league defeat the previous weekend at Port Vale.

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