Aston Villa plight unacceptable says James Collins

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The Independent Football

James Collins admits Aston Villa's current plight is unacceptable but insists their team spirit and togetherness will help them ensure Barclays Premier League survival.

Villa have been embroiled in a relegation battle in recent months although Sunday's 1-0 win against Newcastle courtesy of Collins' header moved them five points clear of the bottom three.

But central defender Collins has rubbished speculation that the dressing room has not been completely united.

Collins, who will face his former club West Ham on Saturday at Upton Park, said: "The sprit has never been in question.

"I can say that this is the best changing room I've ever been in.

"The lads are great together, everyone gets on, and we are all fighting for the same thing.

"No one wants to be in a team that has been relegated. We showed great spirit out there against Newcastle."

Collins added: "For a club of Villa's size it would be disastrous for everyone to go go down.

"For any team in the Premier League, relegation is a disaster but Villa is a massive club. To be in the position we are in, is not acceptable.

"We know everyone hasn't performed and we need to step it up to the way we performed last season.

"We set out before the Everton game last weekend on an eight game season and we've got four points from the first two of those matches which is massive.

"It was a big win on Sunday but we don't want to get carried away and hopefully we can take confidence from that and get three points at West Ham."

Collins and defensive partner Richard Dunne were disciplined for their behaviour towards members of the coaching staff during a recent team bonding session.

But the pair were key to Villa's success last season and Collins believes they are getting back to that sort of form after injuries.

He said: "What's gone on in the past couple of weeks is done and dusted with now.

"We are professional footballers. We'll always try our heart out and perform and be as professional as we can.

"We weren't outstanding defensively at Everton but managed to get a good point.

"But in the second half against Newcastle, we showed some of what we did last season.

"I am concentrating on performing on the pitch.

"It is what I get paid to do and that is what I'm trying to do, trying to get back to the form I showed last year - and repay Villa for signing me and spending a lot of money on me."

Collins has been dogged by a long-term calf problem but is hoping he can be available for the rest of the campaign.

He said: "It has been frustrating for years now. I did my cruciate ligament at West Ham years ago and since then I've been having little niggles in my calf I can't quite get over.

"They keep recurring. It is something we are looking at behind the scenes here and, fingers crossed, I'm over it and I can play the remaining games."

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