Karl Robinson on Caldwell, an opportunity for youngsters and building for next season

George Jones reports

Karl Robinson has praised Chesterfield Manager Gary Caldwell ahead of Charlton’s trip to the Proact Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm).

The Spireites had their relegation to League Two confirmed earlier this week, following a three-year stay in the third tier, and the Addicks boss has backed Caldwell to turn their fortunes around next season.

“I still find it fascinating that Gary wasn’t Manager of the Season in League One last year [when he won the title with Wigan]. Some of the things that have been said about him have been very unjust on a very good manager.

“It shows you that this industry is all about today and that yesterday carries very little relevance. Gary is a very good Manager, a real good guy and I know many people that have played under him at Wigan; Will Grigg, Stephen Warnock and a few others.

“They’ve all told me that he is a very good manager and coach. Chesterfield are in good hands - I know he’ll turn them around.

“We’ll go there with a bit of form behind us – it’s too late, I know – but we’re in decent form. Chesterfield play some good football and they are free for the first time in a long time and we have got to make sure that we are ready for it.”

Charlton assured themselves of League One safety by beating Gillingham 3-0 on Easter Monday and the Manager confirmed that some of the club’s younger players may get an opportunity to play in Derbyshire.

“There could be one or two changes," he said. “There will be players that have played with our U23s squad that may be involved.

“Aaron Barnes and Anfernee Dijksteel will be in the squad and, of course, so will the likes of Ezri, Karlan Ahearne-Grant and Joe Aribo.

“There will be a sprinkling of our U23s involved – I won’t play them all but some of them will get a chance. The most important thing is still to win the game and that has got to be our mentality.”

Though the Addicks are garunteed of a place in League One next term, Robinson insists that the club’s final two matches of the season still carry a lot of importance.

He said: “Hopefully we can really use these last two games as a platform to move forward for next season.

“We have already spoken to some players and hopefully we can build a team that is very competitive and that can challenge anybody in this league.

“You get frustrated when you see teams winning things at the moment and you know what it is like. It’s a feeling you want again. Unfortunately, it isn’t for us at the moment but we have to put ourselves under that pressure to try and do so next year.”

The Manager was quizzed about his plans for next season and he revealed that he is already on the hunt for new signings.

He said: "We've already started the process. We had a meeting on Thursday and we are trying to move things on very quickly.

"We want to bring in players that know this level. They need to be well adapted, know how to finish at the top of the table and they are players that are hard to find.

“That’s not to say the players already here aren’t in my plans but I want to put them under pressure for a place in the team. I believe that internal competition can improve external results.”

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