Caldwell: Perkins deserves armband

David Perkins
David Perkins
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DAVID Perkins is standing by to take the Wigan Athletic armband against Millwall tonight with boss Gary Caldwell hailing his ‘phenomenal’ contribution to the cause.

The 33-year-old was Caldwell’s first signing of the summer, on a free transfer from Blackpool. And he has quickly become an integral part of the new-look Latics side.

When he came in to the club, we knew he’d be a big player – not just in the way he plays but his attitude around the place and his commitment every day

Gary Caldwell

With stand-in skipper Jason Pearce rated only ‘50-50’ to overcome the knee problem that curtailed his involvement at Oldham on Saturday – and club captain Craig Morgan sidelined with a shoulder injury – Perkins could well be handed even more responsibility for the visit of the Lions.

“He’s been absolutely phenomenal for us,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.

“When he came in to the club, we knew he’d be a big player – not just in the way he plays but his attitude around the place and his commitment every day.

“He’s played every minute for us so far, and he deserved the armband at Oldham when Pearcey went off at the end.”

Caldwell will give Pearce every chance to prove his fitness but, with the games coming thick and fast, he may err on the side of caution.

The Latics chief will definitely not be tempted to risk striker Craig Davies (hamstring), although midfielder Francisco Junior is in contention for a welcome return.

And Will Grigg could be set for his first start for exactly a month as he tries to manage a ‘freak’ elbow injury.

“Will’s been training with us, but he’s still got that injury issue,” revealed Caldwell.

“It’s still heavily strapped up and we’ll see how he is.”

Meanwhile, Caldwell has challenged Max Power to make his wonder-goal at Oldham the first of many.

“We know he can score goals like that – it was one of the reasons we desperately wanted to sign him,” he added. “It was a great hit and I’m sure he’s got a lot more to offer.”