HITC Sport understands Crawley face battle to keep star striker.

Mark Wright (R) celebrates scoring the first goal for Shrewsbury Town with James Collins

Luton Town and Coventry City are battling it out to sign Crawley Town striker James Collins, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.

Collins enjoyed a fantastic debut season with Crawley this term after joining on a free transfer from Northampton last summer.

The 26-year-old created history at Crawley by becoming the first Red Devils player to score 20 league goals in the Football League and he scored 22 in all competitions for the League Two side.

The former Aston Villa youngster is regarded as one of the best strikers outside the top two divisions in the country having been a regular goalscorer in League One and League Two.

Shrewsbury Town’s James Collins (C) and Crawley Town’s Josh Simpson in action

After scoring 16 goals for Shrewsbury in 2011-12 including the winning goal to win promotion to League One, Collins also ended up as top scorer with Swindon the following season with 18.

Collins’ form saw him win a move to Hibernian in 2013, but after one year in Scotland he returned to Shrewsbury and finished the 2014-15 season as the club’s top scorer with 17 goals to help them to win promotion again to League One.

Collins’ goalscoring exploits and promotion-winning experience makes him an attractive proposition to Luton and Coventry as they look to build squads capable of winning promotion from League Two next season.

New Crawley boss Harry Kewell is keen to keep hold of Collins, but they could find it hard to resist a sizeable offer for the striker this summer.

In other news, Report: How prospective new Newcastle owners feel about takeover problems