Perch hopes for third time lucky

James Perch (left) celebrates his goal against Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium

James Perch (left) celebrates his goal against Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium

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JAMES Perch is hoping to make it third time lucky in the play-offs as Wigan Athletic aim for an instant return to the Premier League.

Latics entertain QPR tomorrow in the first leg of the Championship play-off, looking to put down a marker ahead of Monday’s second leg.

Perch has unhappy memories of his two previous play-off experiences with Nottingham Forest, having twice bowed out at the semi-final stage – to Yeovil in 2006/7 and then Stephen Crainey’s Blackpool three years later.

But he is determined to smash the hoodoo and help Latics bounce back into the top flight at the first attempt.

“It’s going to be tough, we all know that,” Perch told the Evening Post.

“It’s never easy at this time of year, with everything to play for. But it’s what you play football for.

“I’ve played in two play-offs so far and not had any success, so I’m hoping that’s about to change.

“We know what QPR are all about – we’ve played them twice already and we haven’t managed to get a win yet. The important thing is we forget what’s happened and focus on what’s ahead.”

Perch will go into the game on a personal high after picking up the Players’ Player of the Year award last weekend.

And he’s pleased with the way things have gone in his debut campaign at the DW.

“So far it’s been an all-right season, but if we continue to do the right things and get where we want to be we know it’ll go down as one of the best ever,” he added.

“QPR have got some good players, of course they have, but they’re nothing to be scared of.

“We just need to concentrate on our game and we’ll let the rest take care of itself.”

Tickets for tomorrow’s game will remain on sale up to kick-off, priced £20 adults, £15 OAPs and £10 juniors.