Perch wants Latics to be Euro stars

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JAMES Perch has called on Wigan Athletic to seize the day and take a massive step towards the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Latics entertain Russian giants Rubin Kazan tomorrow in a battle of Group D’s top two on matchday three.

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Latics go into the game on four points, a couple behind leaders Rubin after two games.

With Zulte Waregem and Maribor having only a point between them, Latics know victory over Rubin would put them within touching distance of the next stage.

With a number of glamour clubs set to drop down into the Europa League from the Champions League for the knockout stages, Perch is well aware of the dream ties that potentially lie in wait.

“All the lads are desperate to get through the group stage, because there could be a real glamour tie there in the knockout stages,” he told the Evening Post.

“When I was at Newcastle last year, we played Anzhi Makhachkala, who had a few superstars like Samuel Eto’o and Willian, who is now at Chelsea.

“We managed to beat them and drew Benfica, which was an incredible stadium to play in.

“Experiences like that can only help your career, especially with the amount of young players we have in the squad.”

Perch also rejects suggestions from some quarters that the European campaign is hampering Wigan’s promotion hopes at home.

“Playing in Europe is always a great experience,” Perch (below) added.

“I obviously had the previous campaign with Newcastle, which was very enjoyable.

“And with these big games, you just want to be involved.

“History is being made and these are the games you look back on.

“It’s not easy backing up and playing Saturday-Thursday-Sunday, but I’ll be putting my hand up and I’m sure that goes for the rest of the boys as well.”