Perch ready for Euro challenge

James Perch

James Perch

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JAMES Perch is hoping his experience in European football will stand him in good stead this Thursday.

The 27-year-old is one of few Latics players to have experience in the competition and is looking forward to the challenge.

Wigan face Zulte Waregem on Thursday in what will be the club’s first venture in European football.

“I’ve played in the Europa League so I’ll know a little bit what to expect in terms of refereeing, the opposition crowds and so on,” said Perch.

“The players are a lot more technical on the continent, which we’ll have to get to grips with, and I found it an interesting challenge.

“Some of the players we’ll be playing against we’ll never have heard of, but that doesn’t make them bad players.

“There will be an element of surprise that we’ll have to contend with, but it probably works both ways.

“It’ll be a massive game for us all on Thursday – the players, the management and the fans. Hopefully we can go there and get the three points to get the campaign off to a flying start.”

Latics will have to improve if they want to come back with three points though.

A poor display all round on Saturday saw them go down 2-0 at Leicester.

Perch believes the side can do much better and says they are now looking to kick on.

“It was frustrating and disappointing,” he said. “We can do a lot better than that, especially in the first half, and we let ourselves down.

“I thought the referee was poor – not just for us but for both teams. We have to try and turn things around as quickly as we can because we have got a massive game coming up on Thursday, and then Ipswich at the weekend.”

Perch’s versatility came into play against Leicester.

He had only ever played in defence before Saturday but took up a midfield role against the Foxes and he is hoping the fact he can play various roles will help the squad.

“It’s the position I probably played for most of my Newcastle career – in front of the back four, protecting the back four,” he added.

“I like the role, so I didn’t mind at all when the gaffer asked me to play there.

“The games are coming thick and fast at the moment. That’s the good thing about the Championship – you don’t have to wait long to put things right. None of us go out there to play badly or lose as we did at Leicester, and it’s up to us to put things right.”