Johnnie Jackson will get time to prove he is the right choice to land the Charlton Athletic manager’s job on a full-time basis.
The 39-year-old was placed in caretaker charge yesterday after Addicks owner Thomas Sandgaard dispensed with the services of Nigel Adkins.
Charlton are 22nd in League One – the lowest position in their history – and fans called for Adkins’ removal during and after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Accrington Stanley at The Valley.
Adkins made a parting speech to the Addicks squad at the club’s training ground at 10am yesterday with US-Dane Sandgaard, who flew in at the start of the week, also in attendance.
Jackson has been assistant boss at the SE7 outfit since Lee Bowyer replaced Karl Robinson, initially on a caretaker basis, in March 2018.
He was keen to step up to the top job when Bowyer quit for Birmingham City in March. Instead the former Charlton captain, who scored 55 goals and made 279 appearances for the club, stayed on as number two.
Sandgaard said: “We had to do something and the best way is a shock to the system – the usual way is to replace the manager. Johnnie is going to be caretaker and hopefully he’ll prove right for the job. I have a lot of respect for Johnnie.
“We know he definitely has the desire, on top of a great career at the club. Jason Euell will be a great assistant manager – let’s see how it goes. Hopefully we’ll surprise most people and nick a win up at Sunderland and Johnnie can continue his perfect record [as an interim boss].
“We’re not going to rush anything and make sure we do the right thing, whether that is Johnnie continuing permanently or we bring someone from the outside.
“It was a very difficult decision because Nigel is a top man and as an individual I really liked working with him. You always question yourself when you make those kind of decisions – if the timing is right or maybe another game for things to turn around.
“As an owner you have to stand firm on when you know this is probably not going to turn around.
“Nigel is a great guy and we saw towards the end of last season how we won nearly all our games and almost made it to the play-offs – he had a tremendous impact. But results just haven’t been there this season.”
Asked if the reaction of the fans in midweek had been the catalyst for change, Sandgaard replied: “It has been something which has been building. When it comes to decision-making we can’t just look at fan opinion. It is mainly results and what we have in the table that has made us come to this decision.
“At the end of the game on Tuesday I was still 100 per cent behind Nigel but it was time to shake things up and see if we can do better.
“When you look at what has happened here from the beginning of the season until now, if we were to keep doing the same thing and expect different results then we wouldn’t be responsible in terms of managing the club.
“This is the best way going forward. It buys us time to see Johnnie work himself into the job and whether we need additional resources from the outside.”
Charlton are 13 points adrift of the play-offs but Sandgaard stopped short of saying the only immediate target was survival, despite a four-point gap to 20th-placed Fleetwood Town.
“What we need to do is start collecting points as quickly as possible,” he said. “That will get us away from the bottom and into safety.
“We have a very good squad. We have a really good set of players. So what I expect to see through the season is that some teams that are doing well right now will be losing games that you didn’t expect, like we saw last season, and that will make it an even playing field.
“We’ll see how we can navigate that as we get into the second half of the season. Right now it is about collecting points so that once we get past Christmas we don’t want to be too far off from where we need to be.
“We need to stabilise the situation – we’ll do that one game at a time. We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”
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