PLEASE BEAT RAMS NOW BEGS PERCH
JAMES PERCH has one f inal wish before Wigan’s season of near misses draws to a close – a QPR win in the play-off final.
Perch’s early goal at Loftus Road on Monday night looked like securing the Latics their own place at Wembley before Charlie Austin struck from the spot late on – and then grabbed the winner in e xtra time – to send the R’s through.
It contin ues the 28-y earold’s r otten luck in the play-offs, having already lost with boyhood club Nottingham Forest twice in the semi-finals – in 2007 in League One and in 2010 when they were vying for a place in the top-flight.
And having racked up over 200 appear ances f or F orest over 14 y ears at the City Ground, Perch admits it would hurt to see their bitter East Midlands rivals in the Premier League next season.
“Everyone knows that with the play-offs whoever turns up on the day wins it and QPR did that. I just hope they go on and win it no w because I r eally don’t want to see Derby win,” said Perch.
“I’m devastated. I’ve never had any luck in the pla y-offs. I’ve lost thr ee times at this stage now – twice with Nottingham F orest and once with Wigan.
“It star ted to look lik e my goal could ha ve been the winner but we were hanging on and they put us under a lot of pressure. Sometimes you just have to congratulate the opposition and QPR kept going.”
Perch’s r ecord in fr ont of goal is har dly one to be desired b ut his onl y other strike this season w as the winner ag ainst Manchester City in the F A Cup quarter-final.
That secur ed another tr ip to Wembley f or the FA Cup holders, b ut the Latics eventually lost out to Arsenal in the semi-final.
And after a season w hich saw them f all shor t on their main objective of a r eturn to the top f light, Perch took no consolation fr om his latest close-range effort.
“The goal I scored against Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-final was fantastic as it got us thr ough, but my one against QPR doesn’t mean anything because we didn’t make the final,” he added.
“We’ve beaten some Premier League sides in good cup runs. We’ve done well in the league since Uw e (Rosler) came in and picked us up.
“We’ll go into pr e-season looking good and w e’ve got this manag er fr om the star t now so hopefully we’ll pick up where we’ve left off.”
And the former Newcastle defender-cum-defensive midfielder w ants to a void the play-off lottery.
“We’ll try and go straight up next year so we can leave this play-off lark alone,” he added.
“This quad is good enough to g o up automatically next year. At stages of this season we were picking up results and though maybe we could catch the top tw o, especially when we went ten games unbeaten.
“Hopefully we can do that from the star t of ne xt season and ending up g etting where we want.”
HIGHS AND LOWS: James Perch enjoys putting Wigan ahead but heartbreak was to follow