Jackson delighted with Papa John’s Trophy progression

Johnnie Jackson was thrilled to see his much-changed Charlton side book their place in the quarter-finals of the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday evening with a 1-0 triumph over MK Dons at The Valley.

In a game of relatively few clear cut chances, it was Jonathan Leko’s stoppage-time header that separated the sides as the Addicks moved within two wins of Wembley.

“I’m really pleased,” Jackson told CharltonTV. “I was excited by the make-up of our team. We had guys that were coming back from injury so it was a real opportunity for us to get them minutes in a proper game and a good test for them. We have guys on the fringe of it that are looking to get into the team and show me what they’re about. And obviously young lads looking for their opportunity. So, we managed to get all three of those categories and I was really pleased with the outcome.

“I thought it was a really good game,” he continued. “They’re a good side, they really do try and play out from the back and they caused us problems going through the thirds. We tried to get after them, we tried to go and press - I thought we did that well at times, but other times they got beyond it and then they’ve got good players that can cause you issues. 

“It was a tight game with relatively few chances, although it did get quite open at times in the second-half. I certainly think in that little period where we had to make some enforced changes, just to manage some of the lads’ minutes, that we lost our way a little bit. They had a couple of chances but then we finished strong.”

Jackson was delighted to hand a senior bow to 18-year-old forward Euan Williams, while reserving particular praise for Mason Burstow, who claimed the assist for Leko’s late winner. 

“I’m really pleased that I could get Euan on the pitch,” explained the manager. “It’s something that I was keen to do. He’s done well in training and he’s a good young player who we think really highly of. He’s another one that we’ve managed to give a debut to which is excellent.

“I’m really pleased again with Mason [Burstow],” added the 39-year-old. “He’s developing into a good player, we’ve got high hopes for him. It’s been a great competition for him. It’s been a real showcase for him and I thought he was excellent again tonight. It was proper centre-forward play there, pulling off at the far post with headers - that’s what we want him to add to his game as well, that physical side. He was up against that back-three of theirs who start a lot of games in the league for them, so experienced players there and a real good test for him. 

“He held his own and obviously he popped up with a great little header there for Leko. And Leko popping up with a header, too. That’s a rarity as well so I’m really pleased with that. He’s another one that can play up there as a centre-forward and we’re trying to encourage him to stay between the posts more and really sniff out goals. And he’s done that at the end there to win us the game.”

Asked who he would like to face in the quarter-finals, Jackson said: “I’m not worried about who we play, but I’d like a home draw. I’ve just learned that it’s not regionalised going into the quarter-finals, so there’s a few trips there that we perhaps want to avoid but we’ll take whoever we get.”

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