Charlie Barker and Jason Adigun are relishing Charlton U18s’ PDL 2 play-off final against Wigan Athletic on Friday evening (6pm) at The Valley, with fans in attendance.
The young Addicks booked their place in the final in stunning fashion last weekend, defeating Birmingham City 3-2 courtesy of Mason Burstow’s stoppage-time winner, ably assisted by Adigun.
“I’m feeling good going into the game,” admits Adigun, who administered both of Burstow’s openings. “Obviously the team put in a good performance to get the win at the end of the day, and we need to carry it on into the final to get the win.”
“I think we deserved the win,” asserts Barker. “We dominated the game overall, we created a lot of chances and could have scored more goals. I think towards the end we need to manage the game better and see it out. We’ve let them back into it and Mason [Burstow] has done well to win it for us, but it shouldn’t have got that far for that to happen."
The defender, who will lead the Addicks out in SE7 on Friday, added: “It will be the first time with the boys playing in front of fans this season so it should be good for everyone’s friends and family to be there, and to get the fans back in at The Valley.”
Anthony Hayes’ side’s previous meeting with the Latics saw the young Addicks stretch their winning run to 10 games with a thrilling 4-3 victory after Aaron Henry’s 91st-minute effort, despite Adigun’s dismissal on 38 minutes.
“We know they’re a good side,” explains Barker. “They’ve won their league comfortably and have done very well this season, but we beat them with 10 men. We played very well that day, and I think if we go out and put the same performance out again we’ll win the game.”
“It’s been really good,” says Adigun of his side’s campaign under the stewardship of Hayes and Academy Manager Steve Avory. “There’s lots of ups and downs but we’ve got through it as a team and it’s been amazing this season.”
Barker has enjoyed an extraordinary breakout campaign since seizing his chance with the first team last September and revealed his excitement ahead of next season under Nigel Adkins and Jason Euell, who was promoted to first team coach in April.
“It’s gone a bit beyond expectations this season. I’m really happy with how it’s gone and I hope next season I kick on again. Hopefully I win something again and hopefully try and get back in the first team.”
“We know when the new manager came in he said it’s a good academy and he knows there’s talent here. I’m happy to know that he’s confident with the players the academy brings through. With Jase as well, Jase knows all of us. I’ve worked with Jase a lot this season so it’s good for Jase to go up there. He’s been there, he’s played and he knows what it’s like.”