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Charlton Athletic midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey hopes squad will be strengthened before League One campaign

Charlton Athletic midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey admits the Addicks’ squad needs strengthening before the start of the upcoming League One season.

Amidst uncertainty at the club whilst an elongated takeover process continues, caretaker boss Lee Bowyer has only made one signing so far this summer as he looks to bounce back from play-off disappointment at the end of last season. Striker Lyle Taylor arrived at The Valley after his contract with fellow South Londoners AFC Wimbledon expired.

Igor Vetokele has returned to the club after spending last term in Belgium with Sint Truiden – but Ezri Konsa, Harry Lennon and Ahmed Kashi have all departed SE7, as well as the five players who ended the previous season on loan at The Valley.

There’s just three weeks until Charlton travel to Sunderland on the opening day of the campaign and Forster-Caskey hopes to see some new faces arrive at Sparrows Lane before then.

“I don’t know exactly [how many] but we probably do need numbers,” admitted the 24-year-old.

“I think you can tell it’s a bit light. I keep saying it’s not our job to bring players in, that’s nothing to do with us but I think we’d be stupid to say we’re not light. We are a little bit. But I’m sure they’re working hard behind-the-scenes to get that right.

“As players it’s not our job to worry about that. Our job is to go on the pitch and do the best we can. I’m sure the club will take care of that. That’s not our job. We go on the pitch and try to improve ourselves and get ready for the season.

“We’ve lost a couple but we’ve gained a couple. I think we’re trying to gain some more. I think we’re in good shape at the moment. With a couple more additions, I think we’ll be strong.

“[Kashi] is a very good player. For one reason or another he’s not coming back but that’s not really our problem. We’re looking forward now. This group is very good, very close. I think there’s big things coming.”

Bowyer cast his eye over trialists Simon Dawkins and Elliott Ward during Saturday’s 2-1 friendly win over near-neighbours Welling United – the Addicks coming from behind after Adam Coombes’ early opener.

“Dawks is in, he’s done really well,” added Forster-Caskey.

“He’s been brilliant around the place. The new players and the young boys have been brilliant. Igor has come back, first time I’ve met him when he’s come back. He’s looked really sharp. It’s a positive time. It’s exciting for everybody as all these players have improved us already.”

Goals in either half from Nicky Ajose and Lyle Taylor – the second so far of his first pre-season campaign with Charlton – won the traditional friendly clash for the League One outfit. Forster-Caskey hopes that former Millwall trainee Taylor can help fire the Addicks to promotion.

“He told me before the game that he scored eighteen (last season) so if he can do that again that will help us,” he said.

“Goals get you promoted and we need to score more goals. We knew that last year so that’s just the facts, we need to. Everybody is happy that he’s in the building.

Forster-Caskey watches on as Lyle Taylor is in possession. Welling United v Charlton Athletic, Pre-Season Friendly, Park View Road, 14 July 2018.
Image by Keith Gillard

“He’s added goals already. He’s a good character. He’s making everybody work harder. I’ve only played with him a couple of games but I’ve really enjoyed playing with him and he’s got on the scoresheet twice. That’s the main thing as a striker to score goals and he does that.

“It’s not about the victory in pre-season, it’s about how we played. I thought the boys conducted themselves really well. We’re working hard in training so we’re coming into these games a little bit leggy but this is the hard work. We’ve got to put it in for the big game coming up.

“You try to get as much as you can out of the games and find your feet. I missed an easy one and so did Lyle so we’ll get reminded of that. But it’s about finding your feet. We’ve all come back really fit but it’s match sharpness we need now and these are the games we’re going to get that in.”

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