Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Perch loving life at Newcastle
SPECULATION about his future has followed James Perch around for the best part of a year but the versatile defender has revealed he will always be happy so long as he is at Newcastle United.
After a tricky first 18 months on Tyneside after his summer switch from Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2010, Perch has become something of a fans' favourite since the turn of the year.
The more performances he has had, the greater confidence he has played with and no matter what area of the pitch he has been deployed he has enjoyed the test and the challenge before him.
There has been interest during Alan Pardew's time in charge from Forest, Birmingham City and Celtic, among others, but he has always remained a part of the Magpies squad.
And Perch feels more content and focused on life with Newcastle than he has been before, after starting the new campaign by playing three of the five matches and hearing supporters sing 'We've got Perch-inho'.
"I've always known if I worked hard at my game that I would have a future at Newcastle," said Perch. "I've always been confident of myself. That's what I have done since I joined and the manager has stuck with me.
"I hope I have started to pay him back a little for his faith in me. I've got my own song! It's always nice to hear that coming down from the stands, a great boost for me.
"To be honest I don't really listen to the transfer news. I know I am staying and I don't really care about anything else. As long as I am here that is what matters to me, but of course if the club wants to strengthen, then great, they should."
The 26-year-old did not figure in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa or the 1-0 second leg victory over Atromitos in the Europa League qualifier before that, but he was involved in the three previous matches.
Newcastle have picked up four points from their first three Premier League fixtures and Perch has explained the determination within the squad to return to winning ways regularly to strengthen the push to secure European football for a second year in a row.
Perch said: "It wasn't an ideal start to the season because we travelled for five hours to Greece, played the game, got back to London, played the Chelsea match straight after which is very unfair.
"Whoever is in charge of things like that need to look at it again because it was not a level playing field. You need to look after yourselves in football because playing midweek then at the weekend puts an enormous strain on the body and we have all got a few knocks.
"But it's great being in Europe. You look at the Champions League and there are some massive teams there but so too in the Europa League.
"In the dressing room we are just trying to black out the expectations on us because we know what we have got to do. We are a good side, with some great players in there and we have got to back up last year by doing it again. That's what all the top sides do and we want to be a top team."
One big problem Newcastle could face this season is how to cope without both Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse. Both have started the campaign slowly, although it could be Newcastle have to deal without them in January.
Senegal play a Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with the Ivory Coast in Abidjan on Friday and then the return leg is in Dakar on October 12. If Senegal progress they would qualify for the competition held between January 19 and February 10 next year.
After allowing Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands to leave during the summer, Newcastle would only have Shola Ameobi as an experienced striker available after missing out on taking Andy Carroll back to Tyneside.
Pardew said: "If Senegal win that game, we will lose both of them, so in the next window we are going to have to do something about it."
Comments are closed on this article.