Charlton Athletic manager Ben Garner says that some of his players are on a “final warning” – with the risk they could lose their first-team spots to some of the club’s up-and-coming youngsters.
The Addicks chief was far more impressed with the work ethic and attitude of a more youthful squad which bowed out of the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night than the first-team’s 1-0 defeat at Port Vale last weekend.
“It’s been an ongoing theme here at Charlton for 18 months to two years now,” said Garner. “Where we have performed very well in some games and not very well in others. We’ve spoken in detail this week, around mentality.
“What you have to realise is that we are a League One club. Yes, the club has got great tradition, history and has been a Premier League club. But we are where we are. We have to turn up, fight and play every single week. We didn’t do that last Saturday and there have been a few occasions this season where that has been the case.
“On our day we can beat anyone and we have proved that. We have to make sure we’re doing that on a consistent basis. That is going to be the mindset going forwards and anyone who doesn’t want to be part of that won’t be. I’ve shown enough patience and now is not the last-chance saloon but it is a final warning for certain people in certain ways.
“The pleasing thing from Tuesday night’s game is that we have shown we have a crop of young players who will come in and play with energy, enthusiasm and bravery. They made mistakes, there is plenty to work on, but they will give everything for the shirt and that’s the minimum requirement.”
All but two of Charlton’s squad for the midweek trip to Devon came from the club’s academy.
“I came away from Saturday’s game and I couldn’t relate or associate with it – it’s not what we work on, it’s not what we do and it’s now how we play,” said Garner. “Tuesday, we lost the game and made mistakes which cost us goals – that’s a big learning curve – but the overall performance in the way we went about it, the way we pressed and our intensity and bravery with the ball is something I do associate with.
“It’s more what we want to see.
“You can’t make those mistakes at the top level but the reaction afterwards – Zach Mitchell being an example. He’s 17 years old, made a mistake to give the ball away and it has cost a goal – his reaction and way he performed was incredible. I was so pleased for him and to see that reaction. The other lads were so assured on their debuts and two players scored their first goals for the club.
“It was a real positive evening and we were so unlucky not to at least take it to penalties, if not win the game.”
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