Mansfield Town can expect 'aggressive' test at Preston North End, says James Perch

James Perch is expecting an aggressive test at Deepdale as Mansfield Town look to upset Preston North End in the Carabao Cup.
James Perch expects an aggressive test. Photo: Chris Holloway, The Bigger PictureJames Perch expects an aggressive test. Photo: Chris Holloway, The Bigger Picture
James Perch expects an aggressive test. Photo: Chris Holloway, The Bigger Picture

The former Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest man hopes to make his competitive debut for the club he supported as boy tomorrow (KO 3pm).

But he knows he will have to be at his best when facing the Championship Lilywhites.

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"It'll be a tough game. They've always been a tough opponent at Deepdale," Perch said.

"I know Alex Neil likes to set his teams up to be aggressive. I know it's going to be a physical game and one not to be taken lightly."

Perch agrees with manager Graham Coughlan that the scheduling of the fixture has probably come too soon for a club that was preparing for a September 12 return to competitive action.

But he admits he is desperate to return to action.

"I wouldn't say I feel 100 per cent if I'm being honest, but we're not meant to be at this stage of pre-season," Perch said.

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"We've still got two weeks to go until what we thought was the start of the season. It's kind of messed the plans up a little bit and I'm sure the gaffer's pulling his hair out with it, he probably didn't need it to come this soon. But that's what the EFL decided and we'll have to get on with it.

"You just want to get involved, the games to get going. You go in pre-season and get blasted running wise. You just can't wait for the games to get going so you can try to make a mark.

"It's been the best part of six months since I last played a competitive game, which is a long-term injury when you think about it. You definitely miss it when you're injured and it feels a bit like that.

"Now it's coming round it's getting exciting."

Perch has found his return to pre-season training tough, but necessary, and now he is raring to go with his home-town club.

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"It's been good, it's nice to be back home," the 34-year-old said.

"It's been a tough couple of weeks but I've needed it to get up to speed with the rest of the lads. They seem great, honest lads – good attitude.

"We can build and hopefully have a good team.

"I started at Forest and I've done what I've done. To finally end up at Mansfield where I live half an hour down the road is perfect."

Fans can watch the game via live stream.