David Perkins is targeting three precious points from Wigan Athletic’s clash at Colchester this weekend – to ease the pain of the long bus ride back north!
The 33-year-old Lancashire lad spent three happy years with the U’s between 2008-11, before moving back north to Barnsley, Blackpool and now Latics.
While not particularly looking forward to the 500-mile round trip, Perkins knows Latics have to focus on a crucial game that could see them close to within a point of the League One summit.
“It’s a very long way down there – when I moved down there, I don’t think I realised quite what a long way it was,” he told the Evening Post.
“While it is a long way, with the new ground there it’s not really an intimidating place to go. They don’t get good crowds, and it might feel like a home game given the way our crowd travels in numbers.
“I still know the physio down there very well, and a couple of the backroom staff and press lads.
“It’ll be nice to see them – but the only thing that matters is getting the win.
“It’ll be a long trip back, but it’ll be a good one if we could pick up the three points.”
With Latics riding high in second place, and the U’s rock bottom of the division, it’s fair to say a few betting coupons up and down the country may have this down as a banker away win.
Perkins, though, is taking nothing for granted.
“There’s no ‘gimme’ three points any more, because every team’s got something to play for,” said Perkins, who was part of the Latics side that beat Colchester 5-0 at the DW back in October.
“Teams are either fighting to stay in the league, or fighting to get promoted out of it. The only ‘gimme’ you’ll probably get at the moment is Aston Villa in the Premier League!
“I don’t bet, but if I did then I wouldn’t be doing too well, because it’s so hard to call this season.
“We’ll go in to the game as favourites but, given the position they’re in, they’ll be looking at it as a game they have to win to get out of it.
“They’ll be fearful because of what happened in the game here at the start of the season.
“That will have hurt them mentally, and they’ll be mindful of the firepower we do possess.”
With only 11 games to go, Perkins doesn’t care how Latics go about their work this weekend, as long as they come back with a positive result.
“You want to play well and you want performances to be good, but at this stage of the season all that matters is the results,” he said.
“We’ve got 11 games left, and we need so many wins to guarantee we get promoted.
“You’re kind of chalking them off one by one, and then switching to the next game.
“Obviously we do analyse performances after each game, win or lose, but we are looking at the results more and more rather than how we do it.
“It’s about rolling up your sleeves and digging in, and I think we’ve done that pretty well in recent weeks.
“When we’ve needed to win, when the pressure was on – like at Barnsley just before Christmas, and Fleetwood just after – we’ve come up with the goods.
“They’ve maybe not been the best of performances, but we’ve managed to get the job done.”
While the Latics side will have little chance to enjoy the surroundings during their weekend in Essex, Perkins admits it will be good to revisit a place he grew to love.
“I enjoyed my time there, it was a really good club, nice people, good place to live,” he added.
“My golf handicap came right down as well, because the weather was really nice!
“Maybe that’s the problem at the moment – as the golf handicaps go down, the football also goes down.
“Seriously, I am a little bit surprised to see where they are, because there has been a lot of investment in the new ground and the training ground.
“Obviously the footballing budget’s been slashed a bit, and it is sad to see them down there.
“They’ve been through a few managers – like most clubs in recent years – and maybe it would be best for the to go down and get a chance to rebuild and go again.”