Date: 8th August 2011 at 1:43pm
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Aston Villa gaffer Alex McLeish is hopeful James Collins will return to first-team matters this weekend for our Premier League opener with Fulham.

The Welsh international missed the 1-1 draw against Braga last Saturday as a precaution after injuring his back in a training session prior to the game. However, the manager is under no illusion that the centre-back will do his utmost to participate at Craven Cottage.

Speaking to the Official Site he said:

‘James has injured his back. He did it a few days ago to be fair and he thought he was okay in training on Friday. But I think the intensity of training over the last few days just flared it up and he was a bit stiff.Therefore, we didn’t want to risk him.

‘It’s a worry – but knowing the type of character James is, I’m sure he’ll be determined to be on that pitch at Craven Cottage.`

If Collins does indeed miss the game, Ciaran Clarke will inevitably take his place alongside Richard Dunne.