Wigan Athletic ace Reece James aims to foil Leeds’ ambition

Reece James and Leeds United have something in common – they both have their sights set on playing Premier League football next term.

Thursday, 18th April 2019, 3:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th April 2019, 3:50 pm
Reece James scored his first penalty in a 'proper' game last weekend

While the on-loan Chelsea starlet is an absolute shoo-in for the top flight– whether it be with the Blues or on loan to a Premier League rival – Leeds are not quite there yet.

James and his Latics will rock up at Elland Road hoping to provide a speed-bump to their automatic promotion hopes – five days after holding leaders Norwich to a 1-1 draw.

And in the process, hopefully give themselves a shot in the arm as they fight against the drop.

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“We’ll go there ready to fight,” James told the Wigan Post.

“And after picking up a good point against Norwich, we’ll have plenty of belief we can pick up something there.

“This club’s never been short on belief.

“I believe we can stay up, we all believe we can stay up, and we need to show that in the last four games.”

If Latics can pick up where they left off against Norwich, they’ll give themselves a decent chance of ending a woeful away run that’s seen them winless since mid-August.

James gave Latics the lead with a clinical penalty – his first ever spot-kick in a proper game – only for Teemu Pukki to level with 10 minutes to go.

But it was the manner of the performance that will give Latics a spring in their step heading to West Yorkshire.

“Obviously playing against a top team is very hard, but we had to dig in and try and get a result,” James acknowledged.

“Of course you have to respect a team that are top of the table.

“But equally you can’t go into a game thinking you’re in any way inferior.

“You have to be prepared to fight for everything, give it you all, and we did just that.

“When you sit back, that’s when the problems tend to come.

“If you stay on the front foot, keep aggressive, you can stay in control of the game.”

James’ goal makes it three for the season now – including a brilliant free-kick against Leeds at the DW back in October.

Two of those goals have come in the last three games, and it could have been even more, had a couple of long-range strikes against Norwich not whistled the wrong side of the bar.

It’s an area of his game he’s keen to develop.

“If the shot’s on, I’ll always take it,” he smiled.

“There’s no point turning it down, when the opportunity arises...why not?”