James Perch ready to step up for Newcastle United
Newcastle United defender James Perch says he can provide boss Alan Pardew with cover in the absence of Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini.
The central defensive pair both limped off in Saturday's 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea, meaning Perch is likely to start next weekend's trip to Norwich.
"I'm ready to step in," the utility player told BBC Newcastle.
"I've come on in the last couple of games, so it's not as if I've been away from the first team for a while."
Taylor, 27, is a doubt for the rest of the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon, while Coloccini, 29, will miss Saturday's game.
Mansfield-born Perch, 26, has been limited to four substitute appearances in the Premier League this season, with the back four of Simpson, Coloccini and Ryan and Steven Taylor ever-present.
That continuity has resulted in the Magpies conceding only 15 goals in 14 games, and helped lift the club into sixth place in the table.
"I would never wish injury on anybody," Perch continued.
"It's an absolute disaster that Coloccini and Taylor are injured, because they've played brilliantly.
"But I've got to come in now and step up to the plate."