Jones: 'Mannion has real talent'


Nathan Jones said he was excited to add extra competition to the goalkeeping department after the club confirmed the signing of Will Mannion.

“He’s an experienced goalkeeper and we’re looking to improve every department over the summer in what is a big recruitment window for us," explained the gaffer. "We identified Will as a real good goalkeeper who has done fantastically well at Cambridge and he did well against us in the game that he played. He’s someone that’s a real good profile in terms of size, he’s on his way up, he’s really hungry and he wants to get to and play at a higher level. That’s what attracted us to him.

“He’ll provide real good competition to those who we bring into that department and obviously he brings a real talent to it.

“We want to improve the department. We’re looking to bring in two goalkeepers to have a real competitive edge to them and two we believe can play at not just this level, but also can play at the level above.”

Mannion is an early addition to the squad, and Jones stressed the importance of the club completing the majority of its business in time for the new additions to bed in.

“We’d like to get the squad completed by our return date of June 27th,” he said. “We’ve worked tirelessly for the last three to four weeks in terms of arranging meetings with players. We’re trying to be bold in our recruitment. 

“I’m sure that by the time that we do get to the first day of pre-season, we’ll have the majority, if not all, of our squad in place. That’s so important because pre-season is a real big time, an important time to gel the squad and lay down certain things.

“We believe we’ve agreed with a few, so they should be announced in due course. But we try to keep everything in-house and quiet because all of the signings and all of the people we're speaking to will have vast competition from higher leagues and a lot of the teams in our division.”

Jones is keen that additions like Mannion are able to contribute in both the short and long-term.  

“[We want] players who can do fantastically well this season for Charlton and hopefully help us to achieve our goal,” said the boss. 

“What we don’t want to do is a big recruitment drive every year. We believe we’re going in a certain direction and those players we bring in now have to be able to not only do well for Charlton now, but be able to have the capacity to play at a higher level as well.”

It’s already been a busy off-season for Jones, who is looking forward to seeing all of the work take shape on the field. 

“It’s important to have a rest and do our due diligence now in terms of shaping the squad. It’s probably the toughest time - apart from results and stuff. For a Manager it’s the busiest time. This last month has been manic, it’s been crazy in terms of the amount of meetings. I’ve been all over the country, I’ve been back and forth, I spend most of the time on the phone trying to get these meetings done. 

“But once you see the squad taking shape, once you see the significant improvement of the squad, then those are real good times and then the excitement starts to build to get back for those days when you can start working.”

With more than 7,000 season tickets sold already, Jones is thrilled that supporters have also shown their excitement for the new campaign.

“We asked for them to respond and they have and that’s fantastic,” he added. “It’s a wonderful set of supporters here. After a tough season, hopefully they just saw a glimpse of what we’re trying to build towards the end of the season, and they’ve responded. 

“We still want to have as many as we can - it'll help everything that we do. We want to have as many as we can on the journey with us. And then what we want to do is build a squad they can be really proud of.”

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