BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Nigel Adkins reckons that his Charlton Athletic players should solely be focused on bringing their best performances – and not their contractual situations.
The Addicks have 13 first-teamers out of contract in the summer, including leading lights such as goalscorer Chuks Aneke and midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey.
Adkins was only appointed as the club’s new manager on March 18. His short-term goal is trying to secure a League One play-off spot – inheriting a situation where there is ground to be made up on rivals such as Doncaster, who they face at the Keepmoat Stadium today.
So does the high number of players with unresolved futures make it trickier to keep alive promotion hopes?
Adkins said: “Unfortunately that is the situation for players. You find it in the January transfer window as well, when there is uncertainty and speculation all the way through. That’s football.
“It’s the same for players who are coming out of contract in the summer. I’ve been here 15 days, so I’m trying to establish where we are.
“There are different ways to look at it. If a player is a certain age and is coming out of contract then he is in a strong position because he is, in the old technology, a Bosman, a free transfer. The club might want to keep him, it’s difficult.
“Flipping it, the player might want to stay but the club don’t have to offer him anything.
“The best way is to go and be the best you can be every day. Be the best you can while you’re playing. You’re getting paid by Charlton Athletic Football Club – be a great professional football player. And the summer will sort itself out.”
Player contracts is not the only agenda for Adkins and owner Thomas Sandgaard to address.
“From my point of view, we need to get pre-season organised,” said the former Southampton and Scunthorpe chief. “When is that going to start? It could alter, because of the play-off situation.
“Pre-season should normally have been sorted by the January period. So we’re behind schedule on that. There’s a lot of work to be put in place on how we want to prepare for next season. At least we’re talking about that now.
“People are getting to know how we want to do things from a recruitment point of view, talking to Thomas to see how he wants to set things up, so that we are putting ourselves in a position for recruiting through the summer.”
Charlton are ninth going into a challenging run which sees them also head to Sunderland next weekend with Valley dates against Ipswich and Peterborough to come before the end of this month.
Adkins said: “On my first meeting with the players I introduced them to my KPIs (key performance indicators) – what are we? Straight away it is a clear picture and we can build towards that.
“We can’t overload with information straight away. Slowly but surely we will keep introducing them to the principles of what we want to do and then back that up on a consistent basis with actions.
“Maybe I’ve got in my mind the way I want us to play. But maybe just at this moment in time, where our squad of players are collectively and individually, maybe they don’t fit into that.
“Short term we have got to think about how can we do everything we can to win the next game against Doncaster? Whatever shape, way, players – to keep the season going.
“You want to impose yourself on the opposition. But if you look at all the good teams, that doesn’t happen overnight.”
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.