Matthew Crichton: First and foremost, Nigel Adkins was sacked as Charlton manager earlier this week. Do you think that was the correct decision?
Tom Wallin: Absolutely. Recent performances are as bad as I can remember, and I don’t think it ever looked like changing. We only lost the last two games by one goal each, but based on the performances we looked completely outplayed by both sets of opposition, neither of whom were in great form coming into the games.
It’s a shame, as he finished last season so strongly, and signed good players in the summer, but we have been set up so badly and he’s been reluctant to change it up. That has to rest with the manager, so he had to go.
MC: In terms of replacements, do you have any names in mind for who you would like to see get the job?
TW: I’d be happy to see Jacko (Johnnie Jackson) given the job. He’s a club legend and has been in the staff for a few years now. He knows the club like the back of his hand, and at Charlton that has often made a huge difference (Curbishley, Powell, Bowyer etc) even if the manager is inexperienced.
Some people say we need a manager who has experience, but Adkins was experienced and that didn’t work, so I think let’s see what Johnnie can do.
MC: After finishing fantastically last season, Charlton have won just two of your opening 13 League One matches. What factors have caused such a dip in performance?
TW: We signed players late in the window, and had to bring a lot in, so that has played a part. There are claims that the players are still unfit, which isn’t ideal, but for me the main reasons are the formation, line ups and confidence.
Adkins persisted with a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 and our full-backs have been doubled up on time and time and time again. He has been reluctant to go with two forwards, despite it working well in the brief cameos we’ve seen.
He has also chopped and changed the formation every week, so we’ve had no consistency. With regards to the confidence, we crumble as soon as we concede. This has been a problem for a few years. Hopefully Jacko can instil some belief. If we can get a couple of wins I feel we’ll start to turn a corner.
MC: One player that the club recruited from Sunderland was George Dobson on a free transfer. How has he performed so far for the Addicks?
TW: Not well, but hasn’t had much opportunity to be fair. He started a couple of games early on and looked a bit lightweight and was being overrun too many times. Since then we’ve barely seen him. From what I’ve seen previously, I think he could be a useful player for us, but he needs a run in the side.
MC: On paper, it appeared that Charlton enjoyed a productive transfer window. Which players have performed as expected and which have been disappointments?
TW: Jonathan Leko came back in on loan and has been brilliant. We had him in the Championship a couple of seasons ago, until an injury curtailed the spell, and he’s come back and hit the ground running.
Craig Macgillivray in goal has also made some crucial saves that have kept us in matches. Other than that, I’ve been disappointed with a lot of the players.
Charlie Kirk came with a big reputation but has struggled, possibly due to some family issues, and we brought back some defenders we had previously and they again have struggled.
MC: Charlton have conceded the joint second-most goals in League One this season. How do you think Johnnie Jackson will address that on Saturday?
TW: He has to address the lack of support to the full-backs. Teams have been getting so much joy down either flank, so if he can get some players to support them and keep the midfield and defensive lines close together, that gives us a chance.
Sunderland are obviously flying, so we need to focus on our defensive work as a priority, and then maybe try and hit you on the counter.
MC: In terms of ownership, has Thomas Sandgaard faced any criticism for your poor start or do fans place more blame on the management?
TW: A bit of both. A portion of fans are questioning the rest of the management staff that he has brought in, particularly around recruitment. However, on the whole, having saved the club from administration, and from Roland Duchatelet, Sandgaard still has a lot of good will with the fans.
He’s new to football ownership, and he’s going to make mistakes, but if he can recognise his mistakes and not be precious about it, and continue open communication with the fans, we can’t ask for much more.
MC: Who are the eleven players that you predict Jackson to select and what style of play can Lee Johnson’s men expect to encounter?
TW: Macgillivray will start in goal. I suspect the back four will be Matthews, Famewo, Lavelle and Souare. I’d then like a four-man midfield of Leko, Gilbey, Watson and Blackett-Taylor, and Washington and Stockley up top.
We haven’t seen a 4-4-2 yet, but that’s what I’d like to see. In terms of style, hard-working and fighting for every ball hopefully. That’s what we need to see, and I don’t think he will let them slack off.
MC: Charlton were unbeaten against Sunderland last season, what is your honest prediction for the final score?
TW: I would be amazed if we won, and I would be delighted with a draw. Hand on heart, I can’t see past a home win, but maybe we’ll have a new manager bounce. I’ll go for an optimistic 2-2.