Collins | 'We did enough to win the game'

James Collins was left with mixed emotions have seen his under-21 side come away with a bonus point shootout victory in their EFL Trophy clash with Bradford City.

Austin Samuels’ effort was cancelled out late on as Wolves – who had the experience of John Ruddy, Ryan Bennett, Dion Sanderson and Ki-Jana Hoever in their line-up – had looked to have secured all three points but were able to earn their first two points of the competition after winning the penalty shootout.

However, Collins was pleased that his team were able to do enough to know that a win away at Doncaster Rovers in their final group game will see them make it through to the knockout stages.

On the shootout victory

“It’s a bit of a mixed feeling really. I think in the second-half we deserved to win the game and had done enough to win the game, but made a slip in midfield which let them in for their only chance in the second-half.

“Clayton Donaldson has done that all of his career and tucked the chance away with a little chip, so then you go to penalties and you’re pleased because it’s a good experience for them to have to take penalties under a little bit of pressure.

“I thought our penalties were excellent. They practiced them yesterday and they were brilliant then as well, so it wasn’t a fluke!

“I’m pleased, but I felt at times that we could’ve put the game to bed. Austin scored the goal, and well done to him, but he had a chance in the second-half and we had a couple of other chances, so mixed feelings, but I’m pleased with how they responded.”


On utilising first-team players

“It’s the international break, and we’re looking at what team we’ve got. The manager was very kind to give us Dion, Ryan, John and Ki-Jana, so all of a sudden, the team strengthens, but the difficulty with that is there’s no cohesion because they’re not used to being with each other all the time.

“They trained with us yesterday and they added real professionalism and real authority to the group.

“When I was talking to the group about penalties they were like, ‘We’ll sort it,’ and they showed our boys what being a professional footballer is all about and these were lessons learnt for our young players.

“I thought all four of them were brilliant; they played properly and were really supportive of the younger players in the group.”

On the added leadership the senior players brought

“Benno, Dion and John were all loud, you could hear them shouting all game, and they’re not just shouting rubbish, what they were doing was keeping us organised. They were shouting the right things and the sensible things.

“Before the game, John was speaking to the players and you could tell that he’s been at the club for a while and knows what the gaffer wants, with all the messages he was giving the lads and it was all spot on.

“They weren’t just shouting things for the sake of shouting, they were all great lessons for our young players.”

On the influence of Otasowie in midfield

“Owen’s an interesting one; he’s played at the back, played in midfield, and he’s in midfield at the moment as a way of getting fit.

“He’s had a few niggly little injuries and in midfield it means he has to run up and down, but he’s so talented and does some really magnificent things, but what he can be is a little loose, and you can have your heart in your mouth in that deep position.

“But some of the good things he did were excellent and hopefully he will learn from the little mistakes that he makes, and we’ll see where he ends up either back in defence or in midfield.”

On moving up in the group

“We’ve kept ourselves in the competition. The top two qualify and Oldham have qualified, with everyone else on two points, so we’ll see what happens next at Doncaster.

“It gives us an exciting game to go into and something to look forward to. If we’d have lost today, that would’ve been us done and it would’ve been a dead rubber, so it keeps it going and keeps it exciting.”