McLeish confident on Collins

Villa boss expects centre-half to face Cottagers

Collins: Is nursing a back problem

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Alex McLeish is confident James Collins will be ready for Aston Villa's opening game of the season.

Villa are set to open their Premier League campaign against Fulham on Saturday.

Wales international Collins is a slight doubt for the game as he is nursing a back problem.

He was forced to pull out of midweek international duty as a result of the injury and has returned to Villa Park for further treatment.

Co-operation

McLeish admits the centre-half faces a race against time to face the Cottagers this weekend, but believes a period of rest will have the defender ready and raring to go.

He said: "We hope he (Collins) will be ready. We have high hopes that James will be okay.

"He did suffer a back problem which resulted in the missing of the Braga game (Villa's final pre-season friendly) and withdrawing from the Wales squad.

"We thank the Welsh FA for their co-operation in this."