NEW GULL PROFILE
Matty Hayward – @MattyHayward96
Matty talks about the latest Gulls signing
We’ve signed a young Welsh striker on loan from a Welsh club!! Feel like you’ve read this before? Well, you have. After an uninspiring 24-minute cameo in the FA Trophy, James Crole has been rolled back to his Cardiff hole. His replacement is Lewis Collins, who arrives from Newport County until the end of the season. We think…
Collins is Newport born and bred, the poor sod. The twenty-one year old made his league debut as a second half substitute in a 1-0 win over Crewe in August 2019, and has been around the first team ever since. His two goals for County have been of varying importance. The first – a finish in a 5-4 defeat to West Ham U21s in the EFL Trophy – may not live as long in the memory as the second – a strike against Forest Green Rovers in the 2021 League Two playoff semi-final. Collins played 87 minutes at Wembley: a final in which he saw his team concede a 107th minute extra-time penalty to Morecambe. The boy knows heartache, so may fit in well.
Don’t be fooled by his Wikipedia, which claims he’s made 57 appearances for the Exiles; only twelve of those have been league starts. This may explain why his goal tally is far from extraordinary. The nerdy point here is that Collins is clearly someone who has both benefited and been cursed by the Football League’s five-subs rule; he’s had a fair share of ‘appearances’, but in a previous life he may have had half as many and been loaned out sooner for more starts. You’ll have to ask him which option he’d prefer.
The Welshman can also boast three appearances for his country at junior level, including a goal for the U19s against Croatia.
Here, around the two-minute mark, you can see Collins getting on the end of a through ball to toe home in the playoff match:
And here, after a minute, he cooly drives (/fortunately scuffs) into the bottom corner against West Ham Embryos.
TALKING ABOUT LEWIS
GARY JOHNSON – “He’s a player that’s quick, and can play one of either position of striker or wide player, and we hope he enjoys his time with us.”
DATE OF BIRTH: 9TH MAY 2001 – 21 YEARS-OLD
PLACE OF BIRTH: NEWPORT (WALES)
LEAGUE 2 22-23 STATS: APPEARANCES 18, GOALS 0, YELLOW/RED CARDS 0/0
MOST LIKELY/LEAST LIKELY
Most Likely To
- Work extremely hard. All reports from Newport fans describe him as a hustling striker, which feels like it suits our needs.
- Provide some much-needed strength in depth. We’ve spent all season with a maximum of two fit, good strikers in the matchday squad. We have started the vast majority of those games with two up front. We’re very fortunate that a) we’ve had no major injuries in that position and b) the lack of competition for places hasn’t led to Jarvis getting complacent. This is a really important signing: it allows us to rotate, mix things up mid-game, force our strikers to push each other and, crucially, not field a bench consisting of four defensive players and a goalkeeper so that we have to bring Dylan Crowe on when Tope is exhausted.
Least Likely To
- Follow in Crole’s footsteps. This lad has a decent amount of football league pedigree. He’s not some chump from a Championship club’s eighth string.
- Have an interesting nickname. Collo? Lew? Boring.
- Understand the jokes that people make about “the actor who played Bodie” – a man I’ve only heard of because he came up when I googled our Lewis Collins.
Lewis is the younger brother of Bristol Rovers striker Aaron Collins, The brothers were on opposing sides for the first time on 18 May 2021 for the League Two play off first leg match at Newport, with Aaron playing for Forest Green Rovers. Newport won the match 2–0 with Lewis scoring the second goal.
Yes. This is a good signing, I think. I’m not as fearful as some might be about his goal-scoring record. Asking someone to score bags in that league without getting a sustained run in the team and relying on substitute appearances is a tough ask. Asking someone to score goals when starting or playing a larger role at the level below is far more reasonable.
He feels like a proper Johnson player (I mean this in the Saikou Janneh, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Will Goodwin way, not in the Nelson Iseguan, Ashley Nathaniel-George, Jared Lewington way). He’s got a point to prove, bollocks to run off, and a genuine opportunity to become a fan-favourite amidst a sea of mediocrity. Or, he might be dire. Let’s see, eh?