Charlton Athletic Season Preview: another promotion push?

With the 2018-19 League One season coming up, The Football Lab spoke to Charlton Athletic fan Marcus Hoare (@MarcusHoare1).

You reached the League One play-offs last season, despite Roland Duchatelet’s continued ownership of the club. Did the campaign offer encouragement that, even if a buyer can’t be found, the team still has the tools to be competitive at this level?

It was pretty miraculous work from Lee Bowyer to even get us to the Playoffs in the first place, a complete change of shape without a transfer window showed potential but the squad as has always been the issue under Duchatalet is painfully small and lacks any kind of real depth.

Your first signing of the summer was Lyle Taylor, who had an excellent 2017-18 season for AFC Wimbledon. Are you hopeful that Taylor will give you the ability to run in behind?

We needed something different up front to Ajose and Magennis , the loans of Stephy Mavididi and Michal Zyro towards the end of last season were ineffective so a goalscorer was a priority. Taylor definitely offers something different and caused us no end of problems when playing for AFC Wimbledon.

Josh Magennis always strikes me as the type of forward that doesn’t need to score to have a good game because of the work he gets through. Do you like seeing him graft in wide areas, or would you like him to be more selfish at times?

I’d like to see more from him in front of goal , gets through a lot of graft but for me he’s not someone I’d want to rely on in front of goal.

Ben Amos started all 46 games last season. Did he deserve the faith of the managers he had?

Absolutely. started a bit shaky but was pivotal in the run in , big shame that he’s not coming back for next season. One save away at Shrewsbury in the playoff semi-final was absolutely incredible.

Chris Solly doesn’t appear to offer much pace or attacking intent. Is right-back an area you could perhaps look to upgrade?

Injuries have unfortunately caught up with Chris, who’s been an amazing servant to the club through the good times and the bad. I’d definitely be looking for an out and out natural full-back as opposed to using Anfernee Djiksteel there.

You’ve lost Chelsea loanee Jay Dasilva, who had looked very attack-minded last season. Who do you see taking on the left-back role?

Currently we only have 1 left back on the books in Lewis Page who has had a really hard time of it with injury but when called upon has looked solid. So unless we find another DaSilva type loanee it will be Page.

Ezri Konsa always strikes me as an impressive ball-playing centre-back. With the teenager gone, will a partnership of Jason Pearce and Patrick Bauer give you that same ability in possession?

We’ll need to adapt a bit to not having Ezri there, Bauer is good on the ball but has also been linked with a move away, Jason Pearce is your typical lower league centre-half, not great on the ball but will battle all day and is a bit of a fans favourite.

Jake Forster-Caskey looks like one of the most technically able midfielders at this level while Joe Aribo clearly has bags of energy. Do they work well when they play together?

I’d prefer to see Aribo used higher up the pitch if I’m honest where he can use his technical ability to go past players. Forster-Caskey probably needs a slightly more defensively minded partner alongside him.

Ahmed Kashi appears to divide opinion. Do you love his ball-winning qualities, or do you see him as a tad limited?

He offered a good defensive screen to allow other players to play and scored a couple of important goals from long range but I’m not really surprised he decided to leave at the end of the season. A player that I don’t think we saw the best of due to injuries.

Ben Reeves was a midfielder a few years ago but he seems to be used on the right more often. Does he give you enough width when he plays there?

Think that was more of a square peg in a round hole move from Bowyer when we had injuries to the likes of Fosu and Marshall. For me he plays far too narrow, I’ll be interested to see what we get from him with a full preseason under him.

Winger Tariq Fosu-Henry bagged a hat-trick at Fleetwood last year. Are fans hoping for a bit more consistency from him?

I’d like to see a full season from him, another player that was hit by injury last season but when he was on song he was electric. If he starts the season well I’d be surprised if there isn’t Championship interest in January.

Mark Marshall had a great 2016-17 campaign with Bradford. Were you expecting more from him last year and if so, could Karlan Ahearne-Grant force his way into the first team?

I was a bit disappointed by Marshall, undoubtedly worked hard but lacked any real quality in the final third. Wasn’t seen too often under Bowyer and was completely left out of the second leg of the Playoff semi. Interestingly, he’s played the first 2 preseason games at full-back owing to our lack of depth there.

Addicks aside, what are your thoughts ahead of the League One season as a whole? Any potential dark horses for you?

I think this might finally be the year that Peterborough get over the line. Despite losing the likes of Gwion Edwards and I’d assume Marcus Maddison and Jack Marriott to follow, they’ve added some quality and Steve Evans knows how to get out of this league. Dark Horses for me are Luton, big fan of what Nathan Jones has done there and wouldn’t be surprised if they are in the playoff hunt.

Where will you finish?

5th. Takeover doesn’t come in time to influence the start of the season but January investment strengthens the squad.

Thanks to Marcus for his answers. The Football Lab’s verdict on Charlton can be found on We Love Betting from late July.