Garner: "I have to thank the fans"


Ben Garner thanked the Charlton faithful for their role in the Addicks' 1-0 triumph over Derby County at The Valley on Saturday afternoon.

Corey Blackett-Taylor's second-half strike secured maximum points for Garner's men in their opening home game of the 2022/23 campaign.

"I'm delighted with the result," Garner told CharltonTV. "I'm really, really pleased but the first 45 minutes was nowhere near where it needs to be. We rode our luck a little bit. 

"Jojo [Wollacott] was the only player in the first half that was at the required level and that has to be a monkey off our back now. That has to be a psychological thing because I've not seen any of that this week. We didn't do a thing that we'd work on in the first half. That must be a hangover from last season. There was nervousness, there was tension and that has to go now. 

"It was a much-improved second half and I have to thank the fans today because they could have easily turned in the first half, because it wasn't good enough," he added. "They stuck with us, they got behind us in the second half and that helped us get the three points."

Blackett-Taylor converted what ultimately proved to be the match-winning goal on 62 minutes, prompting Garner's first experience of a rocking Valley.

"It was spine-tingling, it was fantastic. I was delighted with the goal - Corey [Blackett-Taylor] getting in at the back post and tapping one in. That's brilliant. We want our wide players doing that and hopefully that's the first of many for him. We've spoken about a target between him and I, and that's one down now."

The gaffer provided an update on summer recruit Conor McGrandles, who saw his full debut cut short after sustaining a head injury in the first half.

"It was a clash of heads," said Garner. "He doesn't feel sick or anything like that, he just felt a little bit groggy initially. He seems much better now in there.

"We will have to follow the protocols over the next few days, but hopefully he will recover quickly and be available for Tuesday, if not Saturday."

Reflecting on the Addicks' start to the new campaign, Garner said: "Four points from our opening two games, with a new group and a very different way of playing, is a great return. It's a great start in terms of points, but we can improve massively in terms of performances. 

"Over the next weeks and months I expect us to get stronger and stronger, but in the meantime we want to win games, we want to pick up points and get as much momentum as we can."

Purchase your tickets for Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie with Queens Park Rangers at The Valley by clicking on the graphic below.


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