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Charlton Athletic v Rotherham United - Sky Bet League One

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Fan Focus: Charlton fan Louis says ex-Sunderland man George Dobson is their player of the year!

Ahead of Sunderland’s match with Charlton, Matty spoke to Charlton Live host Louis Mendez to discuss Johnnie Jackson’s progress, as well as our old friend George Dobson!

Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images

Matthew Crichton: Charlton currently are without a win in five matches and haven’t scored in their last three - what has caused such a poor dip in form?

Louis Mendez: Injuries have hampered us massively. Losing the first-choice front two of Conor Washington and Jayden Stockley has meant we’ve lacked any real bite up top.

The likes of Chuks Aneke and Scott Fraser came in during the January window but have been since been missing as well.

There’s also been an aversion to keeping clean sheets or defending well in general that have meant we’ve really seen the form nosedive.

MC: Since being made permanent manager, Johnnie Jackson has lost eight of his 12 League One matches, is it safe to say the honeymoon period is over?

LM: Jackson is still popular with the majority of the fanbase, many sympathetic to the fact he’s not the first manager who has struggled to get a sustained tune out of this side.

He started superbly, going on to win six of his first nine after the victory at the Stadium of Light.

Things have gone off the rails somewhat since then. Some fans are asking questions about tactics and an inability to change but the manager says he’s reluctant to abandon the plan that he is working towards.

MC: With the club just eight points above the relegation zone, is the fanbase starting to become worried about how bad this run of form could get?

LM: I’m still fairly confident we’ll be fine but some do have one eye over their shoulder.

Gillingham and lost once in five, Doncaster one in four and Morecambe have come close to picking up wins recently only to be denied by late goals.

Luckily AFC Wimbledon’s freefall means there is a side more vulnerable to falling through the trapdoor into the bottom four than us but we do certainly need to right our own ship.

We still have to play six of the eight teams below us so it’s very much in our own hands.

Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Hillsborough Stadium
Johnnie Jackson made 279 appearances for Charlton, scoring 59 goals during an eight year spell with the club.
Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

MC: Charlton resigned Chuks Aneke in January, as well as bringing in Scott Fraser from Ipswich - how have those two players performed so far?

LM: They both started well but we’ve hardly seen them.

Aneke bagged a goal on his debut with an added-time leveller and did make a difference when in the side but has always been injury-prone and is out for now.

Scott Fraser has had a couple of cameos off the bench but was then struck down with covid so we’re still waiting to get a real look at him.

MC: Our old friend George Dobson has been a consistent starter throughout most of the season for Charlton, would you say he has been a good signing now that you’ve seen so much of him?

LM: Nailed on player of the year.

He was actually frozen out by Nigel Adkins as the Addicks struggled at the start of the campaign but Jackson brought him straight back into the side for the win at Sunderland and he’s never looked back.

Always seems to be in the right place at the right time to break up opposition play in the heart of the midfield and never seems to tire.

MC: Charlton top scorer Conor Washington has been missed the last four matches due to injury, are we likely to see him on Saturday and if not who will replace him?

LM: As it stands, I’ll be surprised if he’s back so imagine we’ll be starting with Mason Burstow once more, hopefully off Jayden Stockley if he is up to 90 minutes after such a long time out.

Burstow is an 18-year-old forward who spent the last year or so with the Addicks academy. He was actually signed by Chelsea on deadline day and loaned back for the rest of the season.

Plenty of potential there – but he is still an 18-year-old trying to learn the ropes in senior football.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Stadium Of Light
Jayden Stockley scored the winner when Charlton beat Sunderland 1-0 earlier this season.
Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

MC: Given that the club finished 7th last season, do you think Jackson will be preparing to make wholesale changes to the squad given that you have over 10 players out of contract?

LM: There will certainly need to be a fair bit of turnover.

It’s clear that the squad this year hasn’t come close to achieving what we hoped for, and reinforcements will be required. There’s also a number of loanees who will return to their parent clubs as well.

I hope that the signings of Aneke and Fraser in January signal an intent to put together a squad that can challenge next year so we’ll see what this summer brings.

MC: What style of play can Alex Neil’s side expect from Jackson’s team and which eleven players do you think he will select?

LM: We’ll be in the 3-5-2 and will try and press high and move the ball quickly when countering after a turnover.

My best guess at the team: MacGillivray, Famewo, Lavelle, Gunter, Purrington, Jaiyesimi, Dobson, Morgan, Lee, Stockley, Burstow.

MC: Sunderland are without a win in 5 matches against Charlton - what is your honest prediction for the final score?

LM: 0-2. Sadly, we just aren’t at it at the moment.


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