Jackson: "I’ve long been an admirer of the FA Cup"

Johnnie Jackson is expecting more of the same from his Charlton squad this weekend when the Addicks host Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup first-round proper.

Speaking in his Thursday press conference, the Caretaker Manager revealed his admiration for the world’s oldest cup competition.

“I love the FA Cup,” said Jackson. “It’s a game that I want to win, it’s a game that I expect to win. I’ve got some good and bad memories of the FA Cup; it’s still one of the biggest regrets of my career not progressing to the semi-finals with Charlton. So, I’ve long been an admirer of the FA cup.

“It’s a good opportunity obviously to utilise your squad,” he added. “I’ve got a lot of players here chomping at the bit for a game and people that want to show me that they should be playing, so there’s an opportunity to do that. But, regardless of whatever team I put out there, I will demand the same things that I have been of the lads that have played so far in the league. We can’t come off of those principles that we’ve put in place. Whatever team I put out there should be good enough to win the game and I expect that.”

Jackson then stressed the importance of his side’s mentality ahead of the tie against the non-league outfit as the Addicks target a place in the second-round. 

“We’ll respect the opposition like we always do, we’ll do our homework on them and we’ll approach it like every other game that we do,” explained the 39-year-old. “We’ll show the lads the ways that they can maybe try and hurt us and we’ll show them the ways that we can hurt them. I always feel that, whoever we’re playing, we’ll cause them problems and that has to be our focus, obviously. 

“It’s important that we approach the game with the right mentality, like we have been, and don’t come off of that. If we’re like that, we’ll win the game but I said to the lads, ‘you have to approach it in that same way, don’t become a story on Sunday morning’.”

Meanwhile, the Caretaker boss reserved particular praise for Deji Elerewe, who penned his first professional contract with the club on Thursday afternoon.

“Deji [Elerewe] is a top young player,” said Jackson. “He’s been in and around the squad, he’s been training with the first-team regularly since the start of the season. We’re really, really pleased that he’s signed. We’re really pleased with his development and we want to continue to help him.

“I think he can go on and be a top player, but he’s young,” he continued. “A lot of potential, obviously there’s still a lot of work to do but certainly I feel over these next couple of games there’s potential there that we can maybe get him some game time.”

Jackson also provided an update on Adam Matthews and Jonathan Leko, who are nursing calf and hip injuries respectively.

“We’re hopeful with both of them that they’re not long-term and they’re not too serious. So, disappointing to lose them both. Adam [Matthews] was brilliant up at Sunderland when we brought him in and [Jonathan] Leko was obviously excellent as well. We lost him early in the following game, so it’s provided opportunities for people to come into the team.

“[Chris] Gunter has come in in Matthews’ place and I thought Gunts was excellent on Tuesday night. DJ [Diallang Jaiyesimi] has come in in that wing-back role and he’s looked equally at home there, too. I don’t think we’re looking at anything serious with those, hopefully we’ve got them back as soon as possible. But I’ve got able deputies now ready to come into the side and prove that they should be in there too.”

Click here to purchase your tickets for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against the Hawks.

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