Thomas Sandgaard is not expecting to make a decision on his next Charlton manager for another month despite Johnnie Jackson’s sterling start as caretaker boss.
The US-based Dane flew into the UK yesterday ahead of the League One home game against Plymouth Argyle tomorrow – set to be a near capacity crowd after the Addicks owner allowed season-ticket holders to bring three family or friends along for free.
Jackson has taken 10 points from a possible 12 to pull Charlton out of the relegation zone.
But Sandgaard admits that other candidates have been spoken to – including Michael Beale. He spent eight years in the Addicks academy and is assistant manager at Aston Villa, following Steven Gerrard after the Liverpool legend recently chose to quit Rangers.
Jackson has revitalised Charlton since stepping in following Nigel Adkins’ departure – his playing career in SE7 ensuring that he also had instant backing from the fanbase.
Asked what more Jackson needed to do to prove he was the right man to lead in the longer term, Sandgaard said: “He’s done everything you could possibly expect of him.
“It’s been more than just the initial boost you expect to get from a new manager.
“He was also instrumental in identifying some things that we could do better – an obvious one was when you look at how many miles the average player was running during a game, that needed to improve significantly.
“We wanted to play with a high press before and also play out from the back. We’re probably not that good at playing out from the back yet, but he definitely got us the high press. That, in itself, considering we’ve probably got the best squad and the most depth in the league, got us some wins.
“This is more of a business decision, rather than a fans’ popularity decision. It’s not even so much about what he needs to do. He needs to keep doing a good job and making sure he and I have a good relationship. Everything is working well in regards to that.
“What is very obvious in a situation like this is we are interviewing potential other candidates that could be available at this level.
“I want to make sure we have enough time to do that, so we don’t do anything hasty.
“If there is a better candidate for the club in the near and medium term out there, we’ll simply just go back to the set-up like it was before. Johnnie is a great assistant manager, we already know that, and Jason Euell is a great coach.
“The club is in a good position because we’ll be able to make the best decision, maybe in the next 30 days from now.”
Sandgaard has had more than 100 applications for the role but many don’t make the cut.
“Maybe 30 are real coaches who should be considered,” he said. “That list quickly comes down to five or 10 who are worth talking to.
“Then it turns out in recent days that a couple have got jobs in the Premier League or the Championship. So that conversation obviously didn’t go anywhere. There are still a few conversations that are going on – nothing hectic, we’ve got plenty of time.”
Chris Wilder recently succeeded Neil Warnock at Middlesbrough. There had been murmurings after Adkins’ exit that the former Sheffield United man was attainable.
Asked about Beale, Sandgaard said: “He has a fantastic track record, especially on the supporting side. Of course we talked to Michael. We’ve also been a little more ambitious than that, in terms of the level of managers we’ve been reaching for.”
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