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John Collins ready for trouble

last updated Friday 15th February 2002, 9:51 PM
Fulham midfielder John Collins
Fulham midfielder John Collins expects a rough ride at Walsall
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Fulham's John Collins has told his team-mates they must stand up and be counted if they are to clinch a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at Division One strugglers Walsall.

Jean Tigana's side, ninth in the top-flight, will arrive at the 9,000-capacity Bescott Stadium to find a team of giant-killers desperate to take full advantage of another welcome distraction from their bitter relegation battle.

And Collins is not expecting to hear complaints about bumps and bruises - which were rife after the 1-0 replay victory against Wycombe - repeated this weekend after the clash with Charlton's conquerors.

"Whenever you play a smaller team, the first thing their manager will tell them is to stop us playing," he said. "As professional footballers, we've got to be able to deal with that tackling, contact and aggression, as they're part of the game.

"Walsall have a new manager and knocked out Charlton in the last round, so we'll treat them with respect. We always try to play flowing football, but first you've got to earn the right to play. We'll have to work hard and win possession in the early stages of the game.

"I was involved in an upset at Celtic, in the League Cup final against Raith Rovers. We dominated the game and put lots of chances over the bar - and these things can happen as footballers are human beings, not robots.

"Small teams always raise their game against the big boys, but as long as we approach the match in the proper manner and have the right attitude, I'm confident we'll win the game. If your attitude's not correct and you think you can play at 80% and win the game, that's when upsets occur."
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