sport

Perch loving life at Newcastle

Newcastle defender James Perch says he loves life in the North East - even when he is left out of the team by Alan Pardew.

Perch has stood in for Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote recently but Coloccini has recovered from a hamstring injury, while Tiote could return against Stoke this weekend following a hip problem.

Perch, though, will not complain even if he finds himself relegated to the bench.

"Whether I'm in the side or not in the side, I'll still work as hard as I possibly can," he told The Journal. "That is the same for all of the lads, it is why we are doing as well as we are.

"In the dressing room we have just got a good, honest bunch of lads. We all work for each other, no matter who is injured, who is out of the side or whatever.

"No matter what the team is, we all know what the gaffer wants from us. The bare minimum is work rate and that is what we give the manager no matter what.

"I moved up here 18 months ago and even when I wasn't playing last year and people were saying to me 'You must hate it up there' I was loving it.

"I love the place, I love the town, the beaches and everything about it. Even though I wasn't enjoying my football I love the place and I love the club."

A win against Stoke will keep Newcastle in the hunt for a Champions League spot, but Perch is not thinking beyond the next game.

"We are not thinking about the Champions League or Europe or anything," he added.

"We're just happy to be here but we just don't want to let ourselves down now. I know it's a cliche but we're taking every game as it comes.

"We need to grasp the opportunity that we've been given but the way we do that is just by winning games and not letting ourselves get swept away by what is being said about us."