Adkins previews Crewe Alexandra clash

Charlton manager Nigel Adkins praised the spirit amongst his players ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash against Crewe Alexandra at The Valley.

Last weekend’s encounter in SE7 against promotion-chasing Wigan Athletic saw the visitors snatch all three points, courtesy of Tendayi Darikwa’s opener on 88 minutes before James McClean’s strike deep into stoppage-time.

“We conceded a goal in the 88th minute, we were trying to win the game,” explained Adkins. “We were the team knocking on the door and at the end of the day we haven’t gone and won the game, and obviously that changes the complexion of things. 

“We’ll keep working on the performance, we’ve got a good spirit amongst the players. They all want to learn. They’re all together which is a big thing. We’ll keep trying to do the right thing as much as possible, good habits every day. Again we’re striving to get the victory because I know that’s what you’re judged on, but if we get the performance right we’ve got more chance of getting the victory as well. 

“If we’d beaten Wigan on the day then we could have gone above them in the league. That’s how close it is. On the day we’ve conceded in the 88th minute, we could have quite easily just sat back and said we’ll take the point. But no, we were at home, we were in the ascendancy and we were looking to go and win it. 

“We need victories, we know that, but likewise keep working on the performance, keep working on the good habits, the collaboration of our football club. The spirit’s right, the players are working their socks off. They’re together, they’re unified. The situation we’ve been in in respect of maybe not picking up the results is going to put us, believe it or not, in a stronger stead moving forward because we’ll have that resilience, that togetherness, that siege mentality if you like that we’re all going to stick together. As a football club doing the right things to give ourselves an opportunity to win.”

Adkins lauded praise onto his Crewe counterpart, David Artell, while explaining Saturday will be a special day for Charlie Kirk.

“It will be a good game for Charlie, obviously Crewe Alexandra will be well aware of his strengths and his weaknesses,” said the 56-year-old. “They’re a good side. We’ve had four games this season and so from our point of view, they’ve played I think it’s five, maybe six different formations - counting the cup games, they played a different formation the other night. 

“But Crewe Alexandra, their tradition is to give young players game time in a safe environment where they can go out with probably little pressure on them to go and express themselves. They’ll want to play out from the back, they’ll want to play football, they’ll want to be athletic, they’ll want to be dynamic and they’ve always been entertaining to watch. 

“David [Artell] has been there for a long time now as the manager, he’s done a great job. From our point of view we’re really pleased that we’ve been able to take Charlie Kirk, who has been coached really well since he’s been at the football club through the academy at Crewe and with the first team. Hopefully we can help continue his development in a good way like Crewe Alexandra have been doing so far with him.”

The Charlton manager also provided an update on a quartet of Addicks in Ronnie Schwartz, Alex Gilbey, Ben Purrington and long-term absentee Jake Forster-Caskey.

“I’m really pleased that Ronnie Schwartz managed to get 45 minutes playing for the under-23s against Dulwich. He didn’t play the other day when the lads won 7-0 because obviously the young players have got to go and play as well and that. 

“Alex Gilbey has done one running session on the grass so that’s the first step in his progression on his recovery. He’s still a few weeks away from being available for selection.

“And Ben Purrington joined in a part of the training session today, so he’s at the very latter end of his rehabilitation. He won’t make the weekend’s game, he won’t make Tuesday’s game, hopefully after that he’ll start to recover and be closer to joining in more full training.

“He [Jake Forster-Caskey] has just had a 12-week assessment and he’s bang on plan. The medical staff and the specialists are really pleased with his progression so far and we’ll just take it one stage at a time. I’m not putting any date on it - we’ll just work through the process and at the moment he’s bang on schedule.”

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