James Collins red card against Watford could spell the end of fans' favourite's West Ham career

When West Ham United favourite James Collins was sent off against Watford few might have imagined it could be his last action in the claret and blue.

But as the dust settles on the disappointing end to West Ham's seven-game unbeaten run, the reality could be just that.

Ahead of the new Premier League season and a new era under manager Slaven Bilic, West Ham splashed out £8 million to bring in Juventus and Italy defender Angelo Ogbonna - as reported by Sky Sports.

It was clear from the off that Bilic, who already had star defender Winston Reid tied to a long-term contract prior to his arrival, did not see Collins as one of his first-choice centre-backs.

There were even rumours that West Ham were trying to offload the seasoned performer, as reported by the Mirror at the time.

The Ginger Pele, as he is affectionately known to West Ham fans, did get his chance in the Hammers' ill-fated Europa League qualifying campaign.

But his sloppy sending off when Bilic's side were coasting to a 2-0 win over FC Astra at Upton Park ultimately cost them the tie and a place in Europe's second tier competition.

A defining moment

It was a defining moment for Collins under his new boss.

From then on he was consigned to the bench by Bilic as West Ham made one of their best ever starts to a season.

That was confirmed when Collins was restricted to bench duty until recently when he got his chance to replace the injured Reid in a 3-1 win away at Crystal Palace.

Collins was immense that day and duly kept his place for a 2-1 win over Chelsea a week later.

But all of his good work was undone when he endured a terrible afternoon in the 2-0 defeat to Watford last time out.

He was exposed time and time again and turned in a tired performance at the worst possible time, before being sent off for a rash foul late on.

Suspension could spell the end

Suspended, Collins will now be replaced for the visit of Everton this weekend.

That could see the reprisal of West Ham's first-choice centre-back pairing of Ogbonna and Reid for the first time since a 2-0 win over Newcastle United back in September.

And if those two stay fit, Collins will resume his position as fourth choice centre-half.

The Welsh international, though, has already made it clear that he could seek a move elsewhere in January if he is not playing regularly because he is desperate to make his country's first ever major tournament squad at Euro 2016.

He told the Daily Star last month: "The main aim is to get in the team for the Euros, so I need to play as many games as possible now.

"Hopefully I can stay in the West Ham team. Obviously if I'm not, that might be something I need to look at in January."

With less than two months to go until that window opens, fans have to come to terms with the fact they may have seen Collins for the last time in a West Ham shirt.

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