Head Coach Preview: Johnson on Charlton challenge

Lee Johnson has insisted Charlton Athletic’s experience will serve as a considerable challenge on Saturday, as Nigel Adkins brings his team to the Stadium of Light.

Recently appointed boss Adkins has yet to suffer defeat at the helm of the Addicks, and Johnson claimed the pedigree of the South Londoners is a strong element of their armoury.

“The aim is of course to get the game won. We’re respectful of a very good Charlton side,” the Head Coach said.

“They have a lot of players in the twilight of their careers but who are still agile, mobile and very experienced. Players like Darren Pratley, Chris Gunter and Adam Matthews bring that to the table for them.

“We’ll have to be at our best, that’s for sure, to make sure we have that chance of claiming maximum points.”

Johnson briefly further assessed Monday’s last outing at Peterborough United, explaining that his squad emerged from the 1-1 draw with plenty of positives to take further into the run-in.

“Character was very important. We didn’t go into the Peterborough game with the mentality to get a draw, but it’s obviously the next best thing if you can’t win it.

“I thought the players showed a good attitude, and they were happy which is important as well. I probably couldn’t quite match their mood, but they felt it was a positive point, and I think my job is to consider their mood and build on those positives.

“If the fans were in, we’d be able to move with their momentum, but at the moment we have to build our own atmosphere going into the game, knowing its importance.”

With some challenging fixtures approaching in the final month of the campaign, Johnson complimented the competitive nature of the English leagues, and noted that facing in-form sides can help magnify focus – Charlton are unbeaten in seven.

“The table doesn’t lie – it’s a 46-game season, and that defines a lot of home truths.

“We have some tough fixtures, and right now our full focus is on Charlton. After that, we’ll consider the next game – that’s how we have to look at it. When an opponent is in form, I think it sharpens the mind for our players and for us as staff.

“Just like in the Championship, there are no gimmes in this league. A lot of foreign leagues might not be the same, but here it is so competitive. Kyril [Louis-Dreyfus] is a really good example – I think he has been really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the third tier of the English game. That’s part of what we know and love about English football.”

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