Charlton AthleticSport

You gotta have faith – Jayden Stockley on burgeoning strike partnership with Conor Washington and being dropped by former boss Nigel Adkins

Jayden Stockley went dressed as George Michael when Charlton Athletic’s players held their Christmas party last weekend – and he’s got total Faith that his front partnership with Conor Washington can go from strength to strength.

The pair have both kicked on since being paired up top by caretaker manager Johnnie Jackson.

Stockley has 14 goals in all competitions while Northern Ireland international Washington has netted six of his seven at club level since the Addicks switched to a 3-5-2 formation.

“I’ve spent a lot of my time as a lone striker and all the goals I scored at Exeter were in that role,” Stockley told the South London Press. “So it depends how you do it. I’ve played in twos before where it hasn’t worked.

“Me and Conor have got this relationship where we know each other’s strengths so well – all our attributes are pretty much the polar opposite.

“I’ve been dying to find a partnership like that, where you put the pressure of scoring goals on both your shoulders and feel as happy for each other when they do get one. Conor is on a great run over the last two months, as am I.

“We want to try and build something where defenders fear both of us as the best partnership in the division. My highest number of goals in a season is 25 – I’d like to try and better that. I want to get big numbers. If we reach the play-offs then I’ll have more games as well.”

Charlton’s players dress up for their Christmas party

Stockley captained Charlton in the opening weeks of the League One campaign but was dropped to the bench after a 2-1 loss at Wycombe, then boss Nigel Adkins citing the fact he wanted his team to play in a less direct fashion.

He went on to only start two of the following six matches before the experienced former Southampton and Scunthorpe manager was shown the door in late October.

“I had a great relationship with Nigel,” said Stockley, who made a permanent move to SE7 in the summer from Preston. “When results aren’t going for you then as a manager you almost try anything. Every player kept coming out of the team – there was chopping and changing to find that winning formula.

Charlton Athletic’s Jayden Stockley applauds the fans

“I haven’t had that pressure as a manager, so I can only imagine how hard it is. I was disappointed to come out of the team at such a pivotal time when results were much-needed. It did frustrate me but I was always there for the team.

“I didn’t believe me coming out of the team was the reason we weren’t necessarily going long. As a team we have got to put that pressure and standards on ourselves to play in the way a manager tells you to.

“Whether you have got Peter Crouch up there, it doesn’t mean you have to play a certain way. I’m a striker who loves crosses in the box. And as I’ve shown with Jacko so far, getting balls into feet is a big part of the way we’re playing at the moment.”

Saturday’s 2-0 win over Cambridge United was the first time that Stockley had not hit the back of the net since he served a three-game ban. The centre-forward saw red – along with former team-mate Deji Oshilaja – in the match at Burton Albion in October.

“It was just a bit sloppy really,” said Stockley. “He was a great lad when he was here.

Picture: Paul Edwards

“We were both aggressive going for the corner, he was marking me and wouldn’t let go. He’s one of the strongest players I’ve ever come across so first of all it was a case of me trying to get him off me. Once he’d got hold of me it was almost impossible to get him off.

“There were no punches or headbutts, it was just grappling. That would normally be two bookings but the ref seemed to lose a little bit of control for that whole first half. He seemed to be in a bit of a daze and booked people for time-wasting when they weren’t. It got a little bit out of hand.

“I need to watch out and learn. There was an incident in the game the other night where I felt Pearcey [Jason Pearce] got targeted badly. I went to stick up for him because I saw what happened.

“Sometimes you need the ref to spot things earlier and protect a player before things break out.

“I saw a free hit on him. Pearcey was stood there, eyes on the ball, and he’s got one right across the chops. That’s what made me angry. You don’t want to see any player go down like that.

“Burton showed you can get sent off for not doing too much. I need to back away. I’ve normally got a good relationship with the refs – that was my first sending off in about four years, so it’s something I have controlled. It’s about being a bit smarter and not getting wrapped up in your emotions.”

Picture: Paul Edwards

Charlton are sailing full steam ahead under Jackson after looking like crashing into the rocks before Adkins was jettisoned.

The Addicks have taken 20 points from a possible 27 under their interim boss – starting with a 1-0 success at Sunderland.

“It’s been great,” said Stockley. “As players what you want to be judged on is how you play and train. Then nobody can have any arguments if they are left out. Standards should be right up there like they were in the Plymouth and Ipswich games. Training should be exactly the same. That is what the manager has demanded.

“The attitude of anyone left out has been unbelievable and that only bode well for a really good team and success.

“He’s someone we have all got on with personally and he’s created that manager vibe around the place, demanding that respect for him and his coaching staff. Every lad has bought into it because of how much we’re enjoying playing at the moment.”

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