Charlton Athletic’s pre-season results have been a mixed bag which have provided few clues as to how the troubled club’s season will shape up.
But whatever their performances on the pitch – and Tuesday saw a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bromley – there’s little doubting that the Addicks are in better shape than at the ragged end of last season.
Captain Johnnie Jackson – briefly tipped for the manager’s seat – said new boss Russell Slade was a welcome addition.
He said: “There’s a real freshness about the place. Like it or not, a more British feel about the place is beneficial and with a British manager which we haven’t had for a while.
“He knows the league inside out and has been successful – which is what we’ve been crying out for.”
Ricky Holmes, Lee Novak and Nicky Ajose have all joined the south London club with Ajose making himself an instant favourite with a second half hat-trick in the 4-1 win against Welling at the weekend.
After that match Slade said: “This was the first chance to show a response from relegation last season and people were here to look for at Charlton’s response from that relegation.”
That first pre-season opener left its mark, though, with Alou Diarra pulling out in the warm-up with a suspected hair line fracture of the foot, keeping him out for weeks. He’s on the treatment table alongside Harry Lennon and Patrick Bauer.
The Bromley match saw a completely different XI turn out for the second half as Slade got to acquaint himself with his players, including triallists Lewis Buxton, Andrew Crofts, Kevin Foley and Emmanuel Sonupe.
Chris Solly was booked in the match but that wasn’t the only time his name was inked on paper. The longest serving player has signed a three-year extension to his contract taking him to 2019.
Manager Russell Slade said: “Chris has been a terrific clubman over the years. The Charlton blood is deep rooted in him and I know he’ll give everything to the club in his performances over the season. He is over the injury he had recently and is really looking forward to getting some action under his belt.”
Solly said: “I’ve been at Charlton since I was 11 and I’m delighted that it will continue to be such a big part of my life. I always give my all every time I go out onto the pitch and I’m determined to try and get us back into the Championship at the first time of asking.”