Charlton U18s host Birmingham City this weekend in the Professional Development League 2 play-off semi-final and young Addicks James Beadle and Deji Elerewe are relishing the encounter.
Anthony Hayes’ side secured the Professional Development League 2 South title last month after 11 successive victories, with all eyes now fixed on Saturday.
“I feel our preparations have gone very well,” revealed central defender Elerewe. “We are ready for them. We know how they play and I feel like, as a team, we’re ready for them.
“I’d say we’re very confident. We don’t want to get too confident so we put our guard down, but I’d say we’re in a good place.”
Boyhood Charlton fan Beadle is revelling in the opportunity to take to The Valley pitch and is eager to continue his side’s strong defensive resolve.
“It will be really good,” said the goalkeeper. “I’ve watched a lot of games here over the years so it’ll be good to be on the pitch. I’m excited.
“Having a good defensive record is always good. It gives us the basis to attack from as well. I think the whole defence, myself and everyone, has been very good.”
Like Beadle, Elerewe has thoroughly enjoyed this season and admits working alongside academy manager Steve Avory motivates him, particularly after seeing the likes of Joe Gomez and Ezri Konsa progress through the Addicks’ esteemed academy.
“I’ve found it very good. I feel like I’ve improved as a player as well. My confidence as well has made me more daring to try stuff in games as well.
“I feel like it’s very good because he [Steve Avory] knows how to get to the places that I want to try and get to. So using his advice and his knowledge to try and get me to the places I want to be.”
The young Addicks also provided a brief insight into one another as players.
“Obviously a very good defender. Quite calm on the ball and just a very solid defender,” says Beadle of Elerewe.
“Very, very good ‘keeper,” reveals Elerewe. “His saves are very, very good and his ball playing ability is very good as well.”