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Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Collins injury blow for Hammers

West Ham defender James Collins
James Collins joined West Ham from Cardiff City for 2m in 2005.

West Ham defender James Collins faces a race against time to be fit for Wales' next 2010 World Cup qualifiers after being ruled out for a month.

The 25-year-old centre-back was carried off in West Ham's 2-1 defeat at Bolton on Saturday with a hamstring injury.

Collins had a scan which revealed a tear in his left hamstring which will keep him sidelined for four weeks.

Wales have a qualifying double-header in Cardiff against Finland on 28 March and Germany on 1 April.

Welsh boss John Toshack says Collins' defensive qualities are vital to the national team and his impressive performances have been crucial in West Ham's revival under new boss Gianfranco Zola.

606: DEBATE
LonelyHammer

Collins, an inspirational figure in West Ham's Premier League survival in 2007, returned from a nine month absence after cruciate knee ligament damage in October.

The Hammers have lost just five times in 17 games since Collins' comeback and his injury absence will be a big blow for Zola's European ambitions.

James Tomkins replaced Collins, capped 27 times by Wales, when he was stretchered off after just 15 minutes at Bolton on Saturday.

The Newport-born defender joins club and country team-mate Danny Gabbidon on West Ham and Wales' injury list.

"It is a pity that we will lose him for a while as he has been playing well," said Zola.

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see also
Bolton 2-1 West Ham
21 Feb 09 |  Premier League
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals


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