Perch angling for return to top flight

James Perch (right) with chief executive Jonathan Jackson
James Perch (right) with chief executive Jonathan Jackson

JAMES Perch is confident he is dropping out of the Premier League for one season only after joining Owen Coyle’s Wigan Athletic revolution.

The 27-year-old put pen to paper on a four-year deal at the DW, to become Coyle’s fourth signing of the summer.

After three successful seasons at Newcastle, Perch is confident he will be facing his old club before too long with Wigan desperate to regain their top-flight status.

“After speaking with the manager, his ambition and determination to take the club back to the Premier League – where it belongs – is something I wanted to be a part of,” Perch acknowledged.

“Stepping down from the Premier League to the Championship won’t affect how I approach games this season. I’ll fight, I’ll give 100% and I’m ready to battle for a place in the team to get us back to the top flight.”

“There have been a few players come in already and there will probably be more to follow, so the competition in the squad is going to be fierce I think.

“But if you want to succeed in today’s game I think you need that in your group, and you need to push one another to be the best you can be.

“I think the new faces will give the club a fresh feel after what happened in the league last season and give it new energy, and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”

Perch didn’t need the usual guided tour of the DW Stadium normally afforded new arrivals.

“It’s funny because the DW Stadium is where I made my debut for Nottingham Forest back in 2004, which was a good day for us in taking a 1-1 draw back with us,” he reminisced.

“Forest were the first team I looked for on the fixture list, and we play them pretty early on, so that will be a strange one for me but another of many games I’m looking forward to this year.

“I’ve also had some bad memories of this place as well, losing a few times with Newcastle in the past couple of years, but hopefully from now on it’ll be a good home for me.

“The fans will see a player with lots of energy, who’s not afraid to get stuck in and who wants to win – that’s the minimum they’ll get from me.”

Perch made 190 appearances for Forest before joining Newcastle in the summer of 2010.

Three years on Tyneside, during which he made65 appearances – including 37 last term – saw him establish himself in the Premier League.

He follows in the footsteps of Chris McCann, Stephen Crainey and Thomas Rogne in joining Latics this summer, with the signing of Scott Carson also in the bag.

And Perch admits the number of new faces at the club will mean plenty of players with plenty to prove over the coming months.

“It feels great to be here with a new challenge ahead of me, and I’m very excited at getting that started,” he added.

“The prospect of helping to get the team promoted was really appealing and I can’t wait to meet the rest of the boys and get started.”

Latics are also waiting to formally announce the capture of former England goalkeeper Carson from Turkish outfit Bursaspor.

The deal was agreed at the beginning of the week, but a spot of red tape has meant a delay in the confirmation.

Latics have also been strongly linked with a move for Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing, who spent last season on loan at Bolton.