Nigel Adkins was keen to take the positives from Charlton’s Carabao Cup tie against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night, despite the Dons progressing into the second-round.
Paul Osew’s effort on 26 minutes was the difference in what proved to be a tight affair in SE7 as both managers made wholesale changes, with Adkins giving debuts to Deji Elerewe and Jacob Roddy, while Charles Clayden enjoyed his first start.
Speaking post-match, Adkins said: “Well done to Wimbledon, they’ve won the game 1-0, but from my point of view there were debuts for some real talented, young players that have come through our academy. We’ve got a young 17-year-old playing centre-half, Deji [Elerewe]. We’ve got young Jacob [Roddy] making his debut at 18 as well. The front line - I thought [Charles] Clayden, [Josh] Davison and [Hady] Ghandour were playing some exhilarating stuff at times in there. There’s a lot of positives from that point of view, obviously disappointed we didn’t get the victory but there’s many things that we can take from that.
“Well this is our squad, at the end of the day there needs to be a pathway for the Academy into the first team, but this is our squad of players. I’ve rested three or four players from a point of view that the game we played on Saturday took a lot out of the players as well. We've got one or two with little niggles from that point of view and then we’ve got tonight and we’ve got Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday coming up.
“You’ll find in tonight’s fixture across the league’s that everybody would have made a lot of changes - I think they made nine changes. Everyone’s got to be mindful of the players, but for me a great learning opportunity for a lot of our younger players. If anything we had a few huffs and puffs, a few decisions that probably went against us that on another day wouldn’t have gone against us and we could have capitalised on.”
Josh Davison had the Addicks’ best chance of the evening after being picked out precisely by debutant Elerewe, though he was thwarted by Dons keeper Nik Tzanev in a game of fine margins.
“He made a fantastic save for Josh Davison, who I thought was a massive threat, especially in the first-half. Charles Clayden was exciting to watch - that front free was full of energy, full of endeavour. It was a shame they had a head injury and made a substitution on an hour and for me that last half-hour of the game, it was just stop, basically. The ball went out of play, there were substitutions, there was no flow, the referee was blowing, so there was no momentum for what we wanted to go and do and capitalise on it.
“But I thought there were some real good things, unfortunately we lost the game and we’re not in the next round. However, we’ll look at some of the good things that the players have gone and done and see if we can keep building on that.”