PRE MATCH | Five talking points from Karl Robinson's pre-Bolton press conference

George Jones reports

Karl Robinson sat down with the local media on Thursday morning to look ahead to Charlton’s weekend trip to high-flying Bolton Wanderers.

Sitting third in the Sky Bet League One table, the promotion-chasing Trotters will be the Addicks’ first opponent in a fortnight, after last Saturday’s match against Scunthorpe United was postponed.

As well as that, it will also be Robinson’s side’s first away fixture of 2017 and, ahead of the encounter, the boss was quizzed on a number of topics, including team news, the end of the January transfer window and the latter part of 2016/17.  

Could we add to the squad before next week’s deadline?
"Yes, I have had an awful lot of difficulties in the window over the last few days. I can’t be selfish and worry about what Karl Robinson wants today – I have make sure I bring in the right players for Charlton Athletic who can be here for the next few years. If I have to miss out on things now because it is not right to do so, then I’m going to have to. I don’t want to put this club in jeopardy by doing some silly things in this window.

“I’m after a top signing. I won’t say where on the pitch, because I don’t think it’s fair on the players that I already have here. I think people may have to leave the building too. I want players that feel lucky to play for Charlton Athletic, not players that feel that Charlton Athletic are lucky to have them. That’s something I’m very conscious of."

Could Nicky Ajose be one to depart?
“There will always be speculation about the likes of Nicky Ajose when he is not playing. There has been a few clubs who have phoned me about his availability – right now I’m not sure if it is right for us.

“It might be right for him, but it has to be right for Charlton Athletic. It’s a decision I have to take. Nicky has not done anything wrong. I fancy other strikers before him at this moment in time.

“He understands that as well, he totally takes that on board.”
Team news

“No-one [is fit who wasn’t last weekend]. Tony and Ricky are a week further on, which gives us some hope and Lee Novak is fit, as he would have been for the Scunthorpe game. Patrick Bauer is training today [Thursday] so we will see where he is at. This will be his first day back training  - that’s as honest as I can get.”

Making improvements on the training pitch 

“I have already seen a marker laid down in training. When I first walked through the door, we did one or two things and the results have improved in certain aspects. Don’t think ‘that’s because we are fitter’ because that is an old fashion way of looking at things. They weren’t unfit when I took over – not at all – but with how I expect my team to play, they were missing something. When someone takes over from me, the new man in charge may think the same; that something is missing.

“We’ve been working hard to try and implement one or two things and the players’ mentality has been excellent. We’ve had a horrific seven days with where to train. Sparrows Lane has been like a concrete car park. We have had no movement in the ground, we got half of The Valley the other day by double covering it and I believe that today [Thursday] the wind chill will take the temperature down to minus six. It’s going to be a cold one.”

Not giving up on 2016/17

“One hundred per cent [February will define our season]. If you can come out of those games with, say, 15 points then it can put you in touching distance of what you think you can achieve. Nobody in this place has thrown the towel in yet.

“A lot of people are talking about next season. One fan said to me the other day that it is about getting the club clean to start next season fresh. I get that. But I still can’t just roll over this year – there is still a lot to achieve – and I don’t think any Charlton Athletic side should just accept to wait for next year. If it happens to be next year, that is part of the industry but right now I think we are still in the mix.

“After our next three games - against Bolton, Fleetwood and Rochdale – we have played most of the top teams. We have had the most difficult run of fixtures since January so we have played a lot of the big boys, there are a lot of games to go and it is about being in touching distance come the middle of February. Coming out of it, you need to get yourself in contention.

“I’m very happy with the group’s work ethic and commitment at the minute and hopefully that will continue.”

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