Charlton captain Jason Pearce has called for caretaker boss Johnnie Jackson to be given the role permanently – saying he has given direction that was lacking under previous manager Nigel Adkins.
The former Addicks midfielder, who has spent the last few years as assistant manager to Lee Bowyer and Adkins, has transformed the South Londoners from a chaotic mess to a coherent outfit in the space of two weeks.
Charlton have taken seven points from a possible nine and gave high-flying Rotherham United a scare during Tuesday evening’s enthralling 1-1 draw at The Valley.
This is in stark contrast to the start of the season, where a run of just two wins in 13 saw Adkins sacked a fortnight ago.
Addicks owner Thomas Sandgaard has promised to give Jackson time to prove whether he can take the job on full-time and Pearce hopes that is how things will play out.
“I’ve played with Jacko and played against him,” explained the 33-year-old centre-back. “Now he’s my manager and I’ve got total respect for Jacko. He’s come in and I think he’ll have a real big career in the game as a manager. I truly believe that. He’s come in and the way he’s been really good with everyone.
“I hope he gets the job. It’ll be great for the club. He knows the club. It’s our performances on the pitch that will determine that but it’s started well and hopefully will continue.
“Jacko’s come in and he’s similar to Bowyer because of the work ethic he expects every game. If we get that the quality, which is something we’ve got in the dressing room, means we’re going to get results.
“Everyone knows we’re disappointed with the start of the season. For whatever reason it didn’t work. Jacko’s been given the opportunity and he’s really galvanised the boys.
“We’re fully behind him and how he wants us to play. We’re trying to do it on the pitch and seven points out of nine is a great start. But we know we’ve got a lot of work still to do, we’re still in a precarious position that we don’t want to be in. So, we’ve got to get some points and move up that table.”
The difference that Jackson has made to the side over the past three games has been remarkable. The South Londoners have conceded just once in that time, having been breached 18 times in the eight outings before that – averaging more than two a game. Their average shots per game are up 34 per cent and shots on target has increased by 61 per cent over that time too.
Pearce was asked why there has been such a transformation since Adkins was shown the exit door. He said: “There were question marks over the effort but he’s just given us that direction which we needed.
“The training has been really good. We’ve been working hard in and out of possession. It’s been great. The boys have really taken to it and I think everyone can see on the pitch that we look like a real team, together.
“There were a few things maybe that weren’t quite right and it wasn’t clicking. The gaffer had been here before and is a great guy and he’s done really well. Something just wasn’t clicking. Obviously, something had to change.
“It did need a little bit of direction. Jacko’s come in, he was obviously assistant manager under the gaffer, and he’s given us that direction which we needed. Now we’re moving forward.
“Obviously, I don’t want to talk too much about the past but we’re in a good place at the moment and we want to continue that and move up that league.”
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