Cole is set for an extended run in the starting line-up with Carroll facing a spell on the sidelines as he recovers from a knee injury.
Collins admits it has been a blow to lose Carroll, but believes Cole has helped fill the void with a number of impressive displays.
"It is obviously a blow to be without Andy, it would be a blow to anyone," said Collins.
"But to be fair, since Carlton's been in he's been unplayable.
"He spent a lot of time on his own on Sunday, he holds it up well and brings the other boys into play. Any team is going to miss a player like Andy but all credit to Carlton, he's been superb since he's come back in for the last three games.
"At home against Chelsea I don't think anybody could have lived with him.
"He was superb. He puts himself about and he works his socks off, so all credit to him.
"The thing with Carlton, regardless of whether he's scoring or he's not playing well, he'll always work hard.
"He certainly worked his socks off on Sunday. He was unlucky not to get a goal but he put his shift in for the boys."
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