Lee Bowyer: Darren Pratley won’t be ready for opening day at Sunderland

New Charlton signing Darren Pratley won’t be ready for the opening day clash at Sunderland, according to caretaker boss Lee Bowyer.

The 33-year-old signed a two-year deal with the Addicks on Tuesday afternoon, but will have to make ground up in terms of match fitness before starting competitive games.

“He’ll play catch-up,” explained Bowyer.

“But to be fair to the lad he did a run that all the other lads have done and he came second. He’s still in good shape but it’s just the football – he’ll be rusty with the ball. He won’t be playing against Sunderland. He’s got to catch-up and get himself ready.

“There’s no point chucking him in at the deep end and getting him injured against Sunderland. He won’t start against Sunderland but we’ll try and get him as many minutes as possible. The fitness people will say he’s ready now or he isn’t ready, that’s not my side. I want to chuck him in amongst the lads as soon as possible. Saturday (against Crawley) is probably too soon, maybe he’ll get some minutes on Tuesday (against Brighton).

“He’s a man and he’s got the experience,” added Bowyer of the former Bolton man.

“That’s why I’ve brought him in, he’s going to fight and compete for every ball. He’s going to work hard, press and win the ball back for us. We want him ready because that’s what we’re going to be demanding from him.”

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