BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton Athletic may be on a four-game winning streak but new arrival Andrew Shinnie says the side can still grow stronger.
Tuesday’s 2-0 triumph over Oxford United, in which Shinnie bagged a goal and an assist, saw the Addicks extend their unbeaten run to five league games. They’ve not conceded in over seven and a half hours of football, with Lee Bowyer’s freshly assembled squad climbing into the League One play-off places after the victory over the U’s.
Even Ryan Inniss’ red card midway through the second-half didn’t take the edge of the Addicks’ defensive display.
Shinnie, who has signed on a season-long from Championship side Luton Town, says there’s still room for improvement despite the recent good run.
He said: “We’re a brand-new team. Lots of us haven’t played together. It’s difficult, with so many games we haven’t been able to train as a side and work on movements and patterns of play.
“To get the results we’ve been getting and the clean sheets, looking strong as a team it’s actually better than you think because we’ve not been able to work on it on the training ground. As the weeks go on and we get to know each other better, we can only get stronger really.
“It was a tough game [against Oxford]. They’re a good side. They move the ball well, they test you defensively. It was difficult at times but we just kept our shape and we’ve got quality in the team where we can hurt teams at any minute.
“I felt we were pretty solid overall. I didn’t feel like they had many good chances. Even down to 10 men we saw the game out well.”
Shinnie was involved with both of the South Londoners goals against former Charlton manager Karl Robinson’s side. He laid on the pass for Conor Washington to break the deadlock just beyond the half-hour mark, before adding a special strike of his own with a fine free-kick just before the break.
“I’m delighted,” added the 31-year-old.
“It’s sort of why I was brought to the club, to try and unlock defences and bring a bit of quality to the side. I managed to set Conor up and then the free-kick managed to hit the back of the net as well. I’m delighted, I had a good evening.
“They had more of the ball earlier on. I played out on the left side today, the gaffer put me out there more to roam inside. It’s quite a hard position to pick up for the other team. I’ve played there a few times. We knew at any time we’ve got the quality in the team to carve through them. Gunts [Chris Gunter] played a nice ball into me and once I got turned, Conor made a lovely little run and I managed to slip him in.”
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