James Perch took time out after training today to catch up with wiganathletic.com, saying among many things that the team have enjoyed time together during the international break so far.
The 28-year-old was quick to point out that having a rest from fixtures could prove a bigger benefit to the team than ever before, making the group prepared for the games to come.
“A break from games is first and foremost beneficial to us because we can have a rest from a very busy fixture period.
“We’ve had a bit of fun for the first few days just to relax our minds ahead of beginning our preparation for Saturday’s game against Blackpool.
“It’s been really good to be on the training pitch and to be able to bond with team mates.”
“Having the Europa League games as well as the Championship games probably demands a break from fixtures.
“If we weren’t in the Europa League then I’d argue that a break would be bad for us because we started to get some good form in our performances and we won a game in injury time which is always a big confidence boost.”
Having the time to bond as a team is something the former Newcastle United defender ensures will prove a boost, having only joined the club himself in the summer alongside 12 others.
“We’ve bonded really well as a group recently.
“We’ve only been together on the whole for three months and I think it was quite clear to see in those first few games that we were a team full of new players.
“The last month or so has really shown that we can play football as a team and that we’re a group of players willing to battle for each other.”
Sharing the happy mood at the training ground, Perch claimed that high morale could be even more crucial in Latics’ unique situation this season.
“A happy camp is always important for any team, but I think it’s even more crucial for us because of the different competitions we’re playing in.
“A good feeling can bring results and those teams enjoying themselves always play well and deliver and we’ve got that at the moment.”
Speaking of the volume of fixtures Latics are set to and have already faced, Perch added that it’s his ambition to keep on playing as often as possible.
“As a footballer when you look back at your career you want to be able to say that you played 500 or 600 games, nobody wants to miss out on playing.
“Everyone in the team has been more than happy to have played so many matches so far and I think that breeds confidence through the group.”
Comfortable in any position along the back line, Perch (pictured against Watford) said his versatility has helped him in securing a first team place and that it’s a tag he’s happy to have.
“I always knew when I came to the club that personally I would have to be versatile like I was when I played for Newcastle.
“I’ve got that tag of being somebody who can fill positions across the back line, but I love the fact that it happens because it’s a compliment to say that I’m wanted in the team.”
Occupying the left back position for the previous four matches, the naturally right footed defender said:
“Strangely enough I actually enjoy playing left back more than right back, I seem to play better on the other side.
“The first time I played there this season the gaffer said to me an hour and a half before kick off that I was needed.
“It was before the Ipswich game and Marco (Fortune) had to be taken out of the team which meant that things had to be re-shuffled.
“I wasn’t ready to be told that because I thought I’d be on the bench, but at the same time it was the best way for it to happen because I was straight on my toes and made sure I gave even more.”
Being adaptable is not just a trait of his own he added:
“One of the big positives of this team is that we have plenty of players who can be moved around to different positions.
“It’s a benefit to us in case of injury and it can also help us to catch teams unaware, we’re going to need that this season.”
Tickets for Latics' return to action against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Saturday 19 October have now sold out, but that doesn't mean you will miss out on the action as you can follow updates of the game on Cover it Live by [clicking here] and you can listen to live commentary on Latics Player by [clicking here].