By support

12th Jan, 2017 | 11:04am

Three reasons why West Ham 50-times international should seek January loan

COMMENT By Will Butcher

James Collins should request a loan move away from West Ham this month, as he struggles to earn regular first-team action.

The 33-year-old defender has made just 11 league and cup appearances all season for the Hammers, despite their disappointing season under manager Slaven Bilic.

With Collins unlikely to be handed a first-team run any time soon, here are three reasons why he should ask for a loan move away from east London.

Fallen down pecking order

The 50-time Wales international has warmed the bench at the London Stadium this season, as Bilic looks to maintain defensive consistency in order to push the Hammers away from a relegation dog fight. That consistency means Winston Reid and Angela Ogbonna have formed a long-standing partnership at centre-back, stretching to nine consecutive games in all competitions. With that partnership set to continue, Collins is unlikely to be given game time and should look to jump ship with Premier League and Championship clubs likely to be keen.

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Contract running out

Collins’ current deal with the Hammers expires in the summer of 2018, and he needs to be playing regular football to prove to manager Bilic that he still has what it takes despite growing even deeper into his thirties. The former Aston Villa stopper will be keen to remain in east London permanently, but to do that he must earn a new contract. Collins knows that the only way to renew his contract will be to impress on the pitch, and a loan move may help him do that.

Return of Reece Oxford

Teenage starlet Oxford has finally recovered from an ankle injury that he picked up in training back in October, after captaining the Hammers’ development side on Monday night in a 2-1 win against Norwich. Oxford’s return to the side could make Collins position more expendable if he was to request a loan, after acting as the immediate replacement should either Reid or Ogbonna pick up an injury. But the teenager’s return means Oxford can assume Collins’ place on the bench, and allow the veteran defender to gain some much-needed game time.

In other West Ham transfer news, this Serie A forward is reportedly interesting Bilic because of his versatility.