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Charlton Athletic defender on backline developing ‘hunger’ for clean sheets

Charlton Athletic defender Thierry Small has talked about gaining a “hunger” to keep clean sheets after the 0-0 draw with Stevenage on Monday.

The Addicks are unbeaten in 10 League One matches and now have two shutouts since Nathan Jones became boss at the start of February, the other also coming at The Valley against table-topping Portsmouth.

Former Southampton left-back Small said: “It was a bit of an unfortunate game (against Stevenage) not to pick up the three points but the lads did our best, worked as hard as we could, we have just got to keep on doing that.

“I’m just happy the fans were supporting us to the very end. We were unlucky not to get the three points.

“We knew they were going to be very direct. In the first half we had good spells. We wanted to get a few more opportunities to really punish them in the final third and we weren’t able to.

“We’ve got to just keep building. The positives are that we kept a clean sheet and we concentrated until the very end. There are little things we can take. The manager has been big on us keeping a clean sheet so we can set that foundation. We’ve got to keep on moving forward.

“It’s about trying to get our relationships in the backline, get on the same wavelength and have that hunger not to concede – which we all do. But sometimes we need that concentration, which we did today. Dobbo (George Dobson) at the end of the game, it could’ve been a goal but he was there at the right time and headed it away.

“Hopefully we can get three points on Saturday.”

Small made his ninth successive start for Charlton since signing in February after his release by the Saints.

He has played the full 90 minutes in all but one of those fixtures.

“That wing-back job is very hard and demanding,” he said. “I love to do the job. I was trying my best to get the ball into the final third and nice areas. It just didn’t fall for us.

“We have got to rest, recover and get back to the drawing board.

“I’m loving it here. The lads are great and the manager is sound. We can just focus and try to get the results we need.”

Small’s deal is short-term until the end of the League One campaign later this month.

Charlton hold an option to extend by a further 12 months.

“At the moment we’re just focusing on the end of the season and we’ll see what comes up at the end of the season,” said Small.

“One hundred per cent (he has thought about it being a good place to stay). I’m really enjoying my time here and I’m open ears for what the future holds.”


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