Monday 28 June 2021

Amos out, McGillivray in

Following confirmation of Chuks Aneke's decision to sign for Birmingham City, the Addicks also saw Ben Amos decide to seek a fresh start at Wigan. The good news, is that we have signed Portsmouth's Player of the Year from last season, Craig MacGillivray, as an Amos replacement. 

Amos was a bit 'marmite' at Charlton and I know he didn't impress at Millwall whilst on loan in 18-19. I like marmite and whilst there was room for improvement, Amos had the ability to make some absolutely top-class saves and was good enough for League One. However, he has decided to move on and 31, he might be past his best.

MacGillivray comes with that POTY award and at 28, we can expect better to come from him. He has also been called up to the Scotland squad, so not unreasonable to assume he might get a cap too at some point. 

Thomas Sandgaard also tweeted today that he is "busy putting next season's squad together." I assume he meant more than just the announcement of MacGillivray....

Friday 25 June 2021

Aneke off to Birmingham?

The rumour-mill is today suggesting that Chuks Aneke is talking to Lee Bowyer at Birmingham about making the Championship switch. No great surprise, nor will it be if he leaves us. It would, of course, give us another hole to fill. 

In better news, Jason Pearce has committed himself to another season in a deal that we are told includes a post-playing option, which sounds like a good move all-round. Nigel Adkins suggested that one or two more experienced pros would be needed to play fewer games but to bring their knowledge and wisdom to the squad. It sounds like Pearce is very much to be one of those. 

Adkins, Gallen and Co need to get their skates on - there have been no new additions as yet and I reckon we need eight or nine first-teamers to give us the squad strength and quality needed if we are to make a stronger challenge this season. The players are due to return to training shortly and we play our first friendly against Celtic in a fortnight's time. That is only a friendly but, as things stand, we would only be able to put a make-shift side out. I am sure we will get a host of names announced ahead of the Celtic game and we need to see several first team defenders as well as a couple of better midfielders and forwards than we currently have available.

As a local Valley resident, we today received a letter from the Council informing us that the club has submitted an application for extended licences for a variety of non-footballing entertainment activities - "performance of plays...exhibition of music...recorded music" as well as extended opening hours and alcohol consumption. Thomas Sandgaard obviously keen to pursue all commercial opportunities. 

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Stockley commits to the attack

After a bit of 'will-he, won't-he' Jayden Stockley has signed on a permanent deal for three years. Portsmouth were rivals for his signature and both clubs appeared to have met Preston's asking price (believed to be c £450,000). With Charlton matching Pompey's wage offer, Stockley was pleased to stay with Charlton where he believes he has unfinished business. We have to hope that we get to see peak Stockley over the next three seasons as the 27 year-old's career matures. 

It also goes some way towards allying fears that Nigel Adkins might not be getting quite the level of financial backing some expected. Stockley's signature will have cost Thomas Sandgaard a little over a million pounds (fee and wages). It also pencils in one of the striking berths with a player we know has the quality needed to get goals. 

Looking at the players we have contracted and those with options, we are not short on numbers up front. Stockley joins Washington and Schwartz as first-teamers with the back-up of youth from Josh Davison and Aaron Henry. Chuks Aneke continues to consider his options and may yet accept an offer. I would take him, not as a partner for Stockley, but so we can introduce a fresh battling striker in every game. For me we still need a mobile goal-scorer. From what we saw last year, Ronnie Schwartz looked short of that. Washington was more convincing but frequent injuries prevented him from really securing a berth. 

Given the need to go two better than last season to get out of this division automatically, we need to bring in a first-choice predator, someone Washington can compete with or provide fresh legs for, a la Stockley and Aneke. I would expect that sort of player to be as much, if not more, of a financial commitment than Stockley.

Whilst we also await decisions from Watson, Forster-Caskey and Pearce, Adkins will also be looking to strengthen midfield but especially defence where we are currently well short on numbers. We need another six I reckon and maybe more if any of those move on. I am not sure Watson and Pearce should necessarily be first choices next season even if they do take their deals (I think Adkins made that point without naming them) given our need to improve on last season. 

Adkins will also want to make his mark on the side and I suspect he may bring in two or three players has had before and who he believes will improve us. A marquee signing central midfielder or that mobile goal-scorer would also help shift more season tickets and give the squad a boost, although Adkins has a budget and I suspect it won't be anything more than realistic.