Exclusive interview | Nathan Jones in Slovenia


As the Addicks marked the halfway point of their pre-season camp in Slovenia, Nathan Jones sat down with CharltonTV to offer an update on how his new-look squad are doing.

“It’s one of the most important weeks of pre-season,” said the boss. “First and foremost, because we wanted to get a lot of our business done early, it gives the new players an opportunity to gel with players we’ve had here.

“And the most important thing is to do the work that we need to do. We’re able to do two sessions a day, we’re able to work hard in a fantastic setting, do a lot of tactical work, do a lot of physical work, especially. And then do things like goal setting, leadership groups, things like that which will stand us in good stead for the coming season.”

With seven new signings already through the door, Jones has strived to get the majority of his transfer window work done in time for the new arrivals to bed in.

“The earlier you get them in, the more work you can do,” he explained. “Because we train and play a certain way, it’s really important that those messages are applied very early and to as many of the squad that we’re going to take forward as possible. 

“It’s been a tireless summer, real hard work. Everyone on the recruitment side - the club, the Board, everyone - has worked so hard to get these signings over the line, and we’re in a really good position.

“I’m very, very pleased,” said Jones. “The people who have come in have made us stronger. This is a stronger squad, it’s a more athletic squad, it’s a more experienced squad. We’ve added goals to the squad, we’ve added athleticism, we’ve added quality, experience, we’ve got pace. It’s a different group - the hunger here, the professionalism. We’re in a very good place. 

“We haven’t played a game yet in terms of the league or anything, so we won’t know until we play league games, but in terms of being in a position this early in pre-season, we are in the position I would have liked us to be.”

For Jones, a player’s character off the pitch is just as important as their ability on it, and he believes that these new additions are already helping to drive the squad on.

“When you bring in good human beings as well as good athletes and good players, then you know that there’s going to be an upturn in terms of everything. 

“Everyone here is focused now in terms of working hard and getting the most out of every training session, driving standards, driving each other and being the best version of themselves, then they add that to the unit, and then those units add to us being a better team. And by being a better team, we’re a stronger club.”

Jones and the recruitment team are not quite finished, with movement expected in and out of the squad. 

“Our business isn’t finished yet,” he said. “It’s a big squad so one or two will have to move on, but we still want to add more quality. We’ve still got not far off six weeks of the window, in terms of being able to do that. So it might not be in the next day or two, but by the end of the window, I would like us to be even stronger than we are now.”

The Addicks arrived in Slovenia off the back of their first friendly at Dartford on Saturday. The boss was pleased with what he saw in that game.

“It was a great game, and we thank Dartford for that,” he said. “They have a wonderful facility and good hospitality, so we thank them for that. It was important that one: we got minutes, two: we got a physical workout, and three: certain things we looked for that we’d been working on in the previous week. 

“This week we’ve got another friendly against different opposition, where the test will be different, but also we’re a second week into pre-season, so we’ll look for slightly more quality in our play as well.”

Next up for Jones’ side is Turkish top-flight outfit Göztepe on Saturday, and the gaffer outlined what he wanted to see in that game.

“Hopefully just an extension of the work we’ve been doing so far,” he explained. “I saw lots and lots of good things in the Dartford game, albeit at a certain level. Now we would like to step that level up in our play, in terms of the things we do, our sharpness, because we’re only five days into pre-season after having a nine-week layoff, so the cohesion, the fluency, the sharpness will come as we play games.”

With significantly more season tickets sold than at the same point last year, Jones also had a message for supporters who have not yet got on board.

“Let’s get on the journey early,” he said. “The greater numbers we get, the more we can generate in terms of enthusiasm, in terms of really firing up this project. We want fans to get behind us, we want them to believe in what we’re trying to achieve here. The really good thing is if you can get in early and be part of that right from the off, it makes everyone at the football club stronger. 

“So we urge anyone that’s sitting on the fence or anyone that’s umming and ahing - we’re doing our part in terms of the board backing us, we’ve brought in higher calibre players, we’ve brought in players that we feel really can do well for this football club, and we ask the fans to back that as well.”

It's time. Be there. Click here to join the journey and purchase your 2024/25 season ticket.

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