The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jack Skelton

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

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