'Absolutely dreadful': The inside track on Nigel Adkins’ Charlton exit and how former Sunderland men have fared at The Valley
Sunderland will face managerless Charlton this weekend after the Addicks parted company with Nigel Adkins – but what can the Black Cats expect?
Charlton’s assistant coach Johnnie Jackson will take temporary charge of the side and be assisted by Jason Euell for the trip to Wearside.
It’s been a terrible start to the season for the Addicks, who narrowly missed out of a play-off place last season but have won just two of their 13 league games this term.
Adkins’ departure came after Tuesday’s 3-2 home defeat by Accrington Stanley in front of a sparse crowd at The Valley, amid calls for owner Thomas Sandgaard to make a change in the dugout.
It’s a result which has left the club 23rd in the League One table.
To find out more about where it has gone wrong and what Sunderland can expect, we caught up with Charlton reporter Louis Mendez from South London Press to get the inside track:
Where has it gone wrong for Charlton this season?
LM: “It’s been absolutely dreadful and in terms of where it’s gone wrong it’s quite hard to put your finger on it.
“There was a bit of a slow transfer window so Charlton seemed to do most of their business towards the end of the window when the season had already started. Nigel Adkins said that affected the group and his ability to name a settled side.
“We are near the end of October now and there has still been no improvements and the loss against Accrington was the final straw.
“For Adkins he had an important win at Fleetwood just before the international break and people were hoping they would come back from the international break with those two weeks on the training ground and would be able to build upon that win.
“They came back at Lincoln and were very poor, even though it was in the last minute it had been coming.
“Against Accrington they were equally disjointed and they just didn’t seem to have a style of play or an identity that they play in.
“It’s got to that stage now where you are thinking this far into the season, it feels like a bit of a fight to avoid relegation or certainly to at least not to be involved in that conversation.”
What system have Charlton been playing?
LM: “Most recently they have been playing like a 4-2-3-1 with either Jayden Stockley or Josh Davison as the focal point.
“It tends to be two wingers so Jonathan Leko and probably Corey Blackett-Taylor on either side of the three, and then if Elliot Lee is back from his illness I’d imagine he’d play behind the striker.
“There were other stages in the season where we played a 4-3-3 and had two further up alongside the striker but they have sort of come away from that in the last few weeks.
“I imagine it will be 4-2-3-1 that Charlton will go for, but in terms of like a playing style you can’t really say that Charlton have got one.
“They try to use the width but they haven’t been able to do that very well in the last couple of weeks.”
Charlton have two former Sunderland players in George Dobson and Adam Matthews – how have they fared?
LM: “George Dobson has been dropped and we haven’t seen him for ages.
“He started the first two or three and has been in possibly one since then but hasn’t really had the chance to set the world alight.
“I guess that was something Nigel saw there and sort of said he still needs bringing up to speed, so we can’t really say we have seen too much of him.
“Adam Matthews has been with Charlton for a couple of years now and there were a couple of years where we weren’t sure if he was going to sign a contract extension but he has.
“He has been reasonably solid and he was here in the Championship season and did alright at right-back but he has been kept out of the side by Chris Gunter.
“The right-back position is one where there is a bit of competition without anyone setting the world alight, but no one has unfortunately.”
Who are the players Sunderland will have to keep an eye on?
LM: “I’d definitely say Jonathan Leko who is on loan from Birmingham. We had him when we were in the Championship a couple of years ago on loan from West Brom.
“When Lee Bowyer went to Birmingham he signed him and it didn’t quite work out for him at Birmingham but he did very well for us in the Championship before an injury.
“He’s come back and tends to be very good at beating his man and already has a few goals and assists to his name after coming back on loan.
“Elliot Lee is one if he plays. He plays just behind the striker and plays between the lines and links up play quite nicely but it depends if he’s back from his illness.
“The other one I’d say is Josh Davidson who is a striker but I’m not entirely sure if he’ll start because he’s been rotated with him and Jayden Stockley.
“He’s a young striker who has come back into the side this year after going out on loan last year and has taken a few by surprise. He’s really lively and got a couple of goals.”