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Perch Drops Down Pecking Order?
James Perch - dubbed "Perchinio" by fans - is determined to build on last season's achievements, despite Alan Pardew set to sign two defenders next week.
But with Steven Taylor set to return from injury, and Douglas and Mathieu Debuchy set to sign next week, Perch looks to be set for the bench this coming season.
James Perch: “Going to Holland with the reserves last year was a low point.
“But I kept my head up. I kept working hard in training, and I knew eventually my time would come. I just had to take it, if you like.
“The second half of last season has put me into good stead for the start of the coming season. That’s good.
“Now I just want to stay fit for pre-season, and play as many games as I can without getting hurt.
“Hopefully, I’ll feature in the first game of the season.
"Ryan Taylor is the perfect example last year.
“He had a bad injury the year before, and didn’t really play. He’d been in and out, but when we needed him at left-back, he came in, did superb.
“The club offered him a new contract, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“I just look to him as the example.
“It was a great season for us.
“Being part of the team that won six on the bounce was fantastic. It was a great achievement.
“We were in with a shout of fourth spot, but unluckily for us, we lost out on the last day. All in all, it was a good season for the lads, and we can be proud.
“You’re almost counting down the days when you’re on holiday.
“One minute you are looking at four weeks off, the next you see that you only have two days left before pre-season training.
“You know you’re in for a tough four weeks of training.
“When you split up at the end of the season, you have to relax.
“But it’s hard to switch off all the time from football when you do it for a living, you’re always thinking about it.”
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