Charlton AthleticSport

Charlton boss Dean Holden answers questions on summer transfer window plans and also budget for next season

Dean Holden is still weighing up which areas of his Charlton Athletic squad need strengthening.

And the Addicks boss says that there is still a chance for every player to prove they should be part of his future plans.

“Recruitment is a big part of improving – watching players, speaking to agents and getting all the information we need,” said Holden, who replaced Ben Garner as boss in December. “We’ve got a list of targets but, at the same time, my eyes are open to the players in the building. I’ve not closed them to any player in this squad, not one, because there are still eight games left.

“Although we are coming to the end of a season, not all the 38 games have been under me.

“I’m not sure on some of them. I’ve not totally made my mind up on some positions.

“The fact is that we need to get this club towards the top six next season. It’s not been there for the last couple, so we need to evolve the squad. There are different ways to do that. Shrewsbury (who Charlton play tomorrow) have scored 40 per cent of their goals from set-pieces this season – which is a huge amount. They are second in the league only to Ipswich, who I think have scored one more than them.

“At the moment we are minus-four for set-pieces – we have scored seven and conceded 11. Shrewsbury and Ipswich have scored 20-odd goals from set-pieces. These are the things that come into recruitment as well.

“That’s not necessarily about changing personnel – that’s about adding focus.”

Wycombe centre-back Christian Forino headed their 82nd-minute leveller in Saturday’s 1-1 draw from Joe Jacobson’s corner.

Holden said: “A lot of the focus last week and this week has been around attacking and defending set-pieces because we have not been good enough on them, the stats tell you that. Why is that? People say ‘do you not work enough on them?’ You go through every goal. At the weekend we didn’t do our job one-v-one marking the header.

“Previous to that there has been a situation second phase. It’s not all about ‘it is his fault or it is the system’s fault’. There are different reasons. The only way we improve something is to work on it. To work on it, you need to know it is a problem in the first place, which the stats tell us.

Charlton Athletic v Wycombe Wanderers SkyBet League One, The Valley, 25 March 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

“My first game against Peterborough on Boxing Day we conceded from a set-piece. Then we go to Fratton Park, Portsmouth, and they get back into it with a second-phase set-piece. We overcame that second half and went on to win.

“At the weekend we lost two points again. You shouldn’t not be winning a game because of a goal as cheap as that.

“The exciting thing is that I’ve got six weeks of pre-season. All of that is planned. But I’m also able to focus on the now without taking attention away.

“We owe it to the supporters and everyone at the football club to finish as high as we can.

“We have got ourselves away from the danger zone, we had that bit of a wobble and we’ve now gone four games unbeaten. We’re in a good moment and there is a really good spirit. We’re not at the point of the season where the lads have relaxed. Training is intense.

“These eight games are really important. Shrewsbury are six points above us, it’s a good opportunity to breach into that top 10 with a result at the weekend.”

American Marc Speigel is in takeover talks with current owner Thomas Sandgaard.

Asked about the budget for next season, Holden said: “We’ve had these conversations and that’s why I committed my long-term future.

“If things don’t pan out that way, then things don’t pan out that way and we find a different way.

“I’m confident that we’ll be able to put a good squad together to challenge for promotion next year.

“Equally you don’t want to go too much on the front foot (publicly) because we’re already Charlton Athletic in this division – if players are pitched to clubs like us or Ipswich, I’m talking size of club, then naturally they are going to ask for more money.

“We don’t need to be shouting from the rooftops what we’ve got to spend or what we’re going to do. I’d like to think we get on with it quietly, that supporters see announcements and get excited.”

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