Collins demands more derby-day spirit

Collins rescued a precious point for Gerard Houllier's side with a deflected late equaliser in the 1-1 draw at St Andrew's on Sunday. It secured only a sixth point out of a possible 30 from the last 10 matches but was enough to move Villa out of the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League.

Centre-back Collins concedes Villa have been below par but he wants to avoid a repeat of the fight for survival he experienced during his days at West Ham. The Wales international is hoping the share of the spoils with Villa's local rivals will serve as a springboard for the team to climb clear of the drop zone.

Collins said: "No-one has been happy with the way we've been performing or playing. We haven't been happy with the way the goals have been going in. We haven't defended well, particularly when you look at how well we did last year. We need to get back to what we do well.

"The results against Tottenham and Manchester City, no-one was happy with them. The fans were bitterly disappointed, the same as the players. No-one has been happy with the situation or the way we have been playing. I was in the same situation with West Ham a few years ago.

"When you're down there, the one thing you have got to show is fight and commitment. I think we did that against Birmingham. You just need to concentrate on each game and perform in the way we know we can. It's up to the players to really dig in together now and show the spirit and fight we've displayed against Blues. Hopefully that will spur us on now for the Manchester City return game next weekend. We put in a battling performance and hopefully we can kick on now."

Source: PA

Source: PA