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West Ham defender part of five-man shortlist drawn up by Crystal Palace - report

By Will Butcher

James Collins could be about to form a reunion with former West Ham boss Sam Allardyce at Crystal Palace, according to a report.

The Daily Mail claim that the 33-year-old centre-back is one of five names that Allardyce has identified to bolster the Eagles’ options at the heart of their defence.

Collins joins an experienced list of names that includes Sunderland’s Lamine Kone, Everton’s Phil Jagielka, Panathinaikos’ Chris Samba and Anderlecht’s Kara Mbodji.

Following Slaven Bilic’s decision to spend £8million on Southampton veteran Jose Fonte, Collins has now been pushed even further down the Hammers pecking order.

Now considered fourth choice behind the likes of Fonte, Winston Reid and Angela Ogbonna, the Wales international could now be forced to jump ship with Palace said to be keen.

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Allardyce, who has since managed Sunderland and England since his West Ham days, signed Collins in 2012 and the defender has a contract at the London Stadium until 2018.

After a four-year spell with the Hammers between 2005 and 2009, before moving to Aston Villa, Collins possesses plenty of top-flight experience that could prove crucial at Palace.

Football Insider verdict:

Collins, a Cardiff City academy graduate, is now entering the stage of his footballing life where first-team football is absolutely vital if he wants to prolong his career. Being given regular appearances will help him remain match fit and prove to his manager that he still has what it takes to keep the Premier League’s finest strikers under control. However, Collins is unlikely to be given the regular game time that he requires at the London Stadium, following the signing of Euro 2016 winner Fonte. Moving to Palace could provide Collins with the top-flight outings he needs, and he’ll work well under his former manager Sam Allardyce. It just remains to be seen whether West Ham will allow anyone to leave, given their experience with injuries already this season.

In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers are in pole position to sign this 29-year-old playmaker.

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