Jackson: "We’re optimistic about the future"

Johnnie Jackson has revealed he and owner Thomas Sandgaard are ‘optimistic about the future’ having shared wholly positive conversations this week.

Since taking the reins in late October, Jackson has amassed 14 points from a possible 18 in the third tier to catapult Charlton up the Sky Bet League One table. 

“I spent some good time with Thomas this week,” said Jackson. “Obviously he’s been over, he’s been at both of the games and he’s been at the training ground every day so we’ve had a chance to spend some good time together which we haven’t really had before. 

“We’ve had some good chats,” he continued. “Everything has been positive, all the feedback has been good. So, we’re optimistic about the future and that we can all move forward together.”

Having drawn 2-2 at Morecambe in midweek, Charlton now face a trip to Shrewsbury Town and while Jackson admits the hectic turnaround is not ideal, he feels the Addicks have prepared in the best way possible.

“I mean it’s a difficult schedule, a particularly difficult week. Morecambe away on a Tuesday night poses logistical issues and stuff like that but I think we dealt with it in the best way we could. Obviously, we stayed up after the game and we did a recovery session on the Wednesday and the lads who hadn’t played did a little session on the Wednesday. 

“We felt like we’ve prepared the best way possible, obviously that’s never an ideal scenario playing that far away from home on a Tuesday night, but it is what it is and we’ve done the best preparation possible going into Saturday.

“I had to pick the players up a little bit because they were disappointed that we never won the game - I was disappointed that we never won the game. We debrief it, we look back and we did some great things. 

“We’re still disappointed with the nature of the goals that we conceded but we scored two good goals and, for me, we should have had more. Our play warranted more, perhaps we should have tested the goalie more. But there was a lot of good stuff to come out of it and I think it shows how far we’ve come so quickly that we all left there disappointed that we’d only drawn the game. 

“The run continues, unbeaten in six in the league and we’re in a good place. The lads are confident and we just want to continue that run. We’re disappointed not to win but a point on the road is never terrible.”

All eyes are now firmly fixed on this weekend’s encounter against the Shrews, managed by 57-year-old Steve Cotterill, who Jackson enjoyed five League Two appearances under in 2010 while at Notts County.

“[Steve Cotterill] is a manager that I played for so I know Steve well and I know how he wants his teams to play,” Jackson explained. “They will certainly be up for it. They play a similar formation and style to how we have been. For me there will be match ups all over the pitch, ones that we have to have more coming out on top than what they do and I expect that from my players. 

“We’ll have to go there and compete because a Steve Cotterill team, that’s one thing that they will always do. They will always give everything and always compete, so we’re ready for that. The conditions might be a little bit tricky as well so we have to go there, again, with the right mentality, the right attitude, be up for the fight to start with and hopefully our quality can tell later in the game.”

Jackson’s matchday squad will be bolstered by the return of Pape Souaré and Jonathan Leko, though club captain Jason Pearce and Adam Matthews remain sidelined. 

“[Pape Souaré and Jonathan Leko] will both be involved in the squad,” revealed the 39-year-old. “Obviously it’s up to me now how I utilise them - whether that’s from the start or from the bench - but they’re both available for me.”

“Pearcey is still a little bit sore in that knee. We were hopeful that he might be ready for Saturday but unfortunately it’s come a little bit too soon. I don’t know a timeframe for him but we’re hopeful that’s not too serious. 

“Adam is still unavailable,” he added. “He’s just got one of these niggly sort of calf injuries that you have to be really careful with, so we’re managing that closely. Hopefully he’s not too far away, I know he’s definitely making strides in the medical room so we’re hopeful we can have him back soon as well.”

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