Mansfield Town defender James Perch says the ‘brilliant’ travelling support expected at Hillsborough on Saturday ‘doesn’t surprise’ him with the club expected to take approximately 4,000 fans to Sheffield Wednesday for the Emirates FA Cup second round.
The veteran defender, who has an FA Cup semi-final on his CV with former club Wigan Athletic, says the squad will take the experience of winning at ‘big places’ in recent years into the match.
Born in Mansfield, Perch hopes his hometown’s fanbase can ‘enjoy the day’ and the club’s superb following will leave Sheffield with a third round tie to look forward to.
Speaking to the local media in a news conference at RH Academy this week, he said: “It’s always a good game in the FA Cup.
“It’s a little break from the league. It’s been tough recently [in Sky Bet League Two] so to go to Hillsborough and take a few thousand fans will hopefully [give us the opportunity to] enjoy the day.
“It’s brilliant [the supporters’ backing]. It doesn’t surprise me the numbers going to Hillsborough.
“We can take the experience that we’ve had in previous years of going to big places and big grounds.
“We know we can compete against good teams. We know we can win.
“We’ll take confidence going there.
“I think we can relax a little bit instead of being the favourites.
“We can be the underdogs and play our stuff.”
The 37-year-old has fond memories of the world’s oldest domestic cup competition.
“I scored the winner to get us [Wigan] to the semi-final [in 2014] so the FA Cup [for me] has been alright yeah,” he said joking.
“We lost in the semis to Arsenal but it’s good memories.
“It was a good day [personally], they were a good side at the time [Man City] and luckily we got through.”
Despite Stags’ form fluctuating in recent months, Perch believes the club will soon be back on track. With Saturday providing an opportunity to build confidence.
“It’s been a very up and down season so far but we’re still within touch of the play-offs,” he said.
“We’d like to be higher [in the league table] but there is still a long way to go.
“We’ve been disappointed at times but then had some good results which has picked us back up.”