We are tough enough for title tilt, says Wigan Athletic’s James Perch ahead of key clash with Brighton & Hove Albion

By Colin Rhodes

Wigan Athletic defender James Perch believes his team mates have the mental toughness to deal with being one of the Championship’s big-hitters this season.

The Latics face three crucial home games in the next eight days starting with this Saturday’s mid-table clash against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Owen Coyle’s men are unbeaten at the DW Stadium this season but will be looking to convert their home dominance to points after four home draws this season.

“The club has gone from being underdogs in the Premier League to being a team that others are aiming to get a scalp from. There has been a shift in mentality here,” said the 28-year-old.

“I think it was crucial in the summer that the majority of the team’s core players committed themselves into helping the club get back into the Premier League.

“It’s a credit to the likes of Ben (Watson), Callum (McManaman) and the others guys who fought to try and keep the club up last season.”

Perch though is confident that the players have the mental toughness to deal with the pressure of being one of the favourites to win promotion.

“It shows what mentality of player we have at the club in that these guys don’t just simply give up.

“That mentality is also in the players that the gaffer brought in and right now we’re coming up with a very good formula for our future success.”

Wigan face games against Zulte Waregem, in the Europa League and then Derby County in another busy period for the club and Perch is sure that the player’s confidence will help them secure the right results.

“Our home form has been unbelievable,” he said.

“We’re going into home games now with the confidence that we won’t give anything away.

“I think that’s working the other way around as well in that the teams visiting are expecting a very tough game.

“That’s the kind of environment we want to create, we want it to be daunting for other teams to play us at the DW Stadium and for them to feel like they’re coming to a place where they’re not going to get anything from.”

Latics will have Jean Beausejour available again. The Chilean international played a key role in his country’s victory over England at Wembley last Friday then came off the bench after just nine minutes against Brazil in their 2-1 defeat in Toronto. 

The rest of Coyle’s internationals have returned fit and well, but Gary Caldwell, Shaun Maloney and Ali Al Habsi remain sidelined with injuries. Ivan Ramis is close to a return.  

Image courtesy of LaticsOfficial via YouTube, with thanks

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