Charlton AthleticSport

‘You probably won’t see the best of him again until next season’ – Charlton boss on Jayden Stockley’s vital return

Johnnie Jackson reckons Charlton Athletic striker Jayden Stockley will not be fully firing on all cylinders again until the start of the
2022-23 season.

The centre-forward scored the only goal at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday to make it three League One victories on the spin for the South Londoners.

Charlton have taken 10 points from a possible 15 in the matches that Stockley has started since returning from a back problem that ruled him out for three months.

And Addicks manager Jackson has praised the former Preston and Exeter frontman’s desire to make a telling contribution at a time when the Addicks were in urgent need of points to power away from the relegation scrap.

“He has a great attitude and is a great character around the place,” Jackson told the South London Press. “He is a big personality and someone who is desperate to do well for himself and for the team.

“It hurt him being out, missing those games and seeing us struggling. He wanted to be a part of helping out as soon as possible.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Jayden yet. You probably won’t see the best of him until next season. But he is a massive player for us, even when he is not completely 100 per cent.

“He contributes hugely on the pitch. It [the injury] is something he has to manage and we have to manage his workload and training load.

“If there are opportunities to look after him in games then I’ll look at that as well, but I haven’t had that luxury so far.

“A good rest over the close-season period, and I’d like to think when he comes back for pre-season everything will be completely resolved and then he’ll have a good run at it.

“Since he has got back it has seen an upturn in form – not only him but also having some of the other guys available to us that were sorely missed in that period.

Charlton Athletic’s Jayden Stockley (centre) celebrates scoring their side’s first goal of the game during the Sky Bet League One match at The Eco-Power Stadium, Doncaster. Picture date: Saturday March 26, 2022.

“I spoke about it a lot during that period but it has sort of been highlighted even more now that they are back and there has been a bit of a turnaround.”

Charlton will go in search of four wins in a row for the first time since November 2020 when they host Lincoln City this weekend.

Even a point against the Imps could be enough to move Jackson’s side into the top half of the table.

“We’re in good form and we have turned it around,” said the Addicks boss. “We look a lot more solid and we’ve had three clean sheets as well in this period.

“It’s pleasing we’re not conceding many and we’ve got a threat now at the other end with the likes of Corey [Blackett-Taylor], Jayden and Conor [Washington] all coming back. It gives us an opportunity to go and try and win games now.”

Blackett-Taylor assisted Stockley last weekend. The former Aston Villa winger, initially signed on a short-term deal as a free agent in August, is looking a bargain find and has adjusted to playing as a left wing-back for Charlton.

In November he penned an extension keeping him in SE7 until at least 2023.

“He’s improved dramatically already in terms of his positional play and how he gets himself in the position to receive the ball,” said Jackson of Blackett-Taylor’s transition.

“He is mucking in on the defensive side but the way we play it as well means a lot of the time that he’s involved he is playing like a left winger, which is obviously natural to him.

“I talk to him in those terms, that when he has the ball in those areas he has to have a winger’s mentality. That’s why he is there – to get at them and do exactly what he would do.

“We try and set our team up in a way that we can get the ball to him, that’s important.

“He has still got bags of potential and can improve even more, we’re excited about Corey.

Picture: Paul Edwards

“He came in and trained for that extended period and he did really well at the start. He’s had his injury problems and that was disappointing, that he’s not been available more because he is showing now what an asset he is to the team.

“We did miss him again in that period.

“We’re really pleased with his output – next season we want even more. We want him to play more football, be more robust and play Saturday-Tuesday and play those 90 minutes. If we can get him to a place doing that then he becomes an even better player.

“There’s still lots of work for him and for us to do, but he can be pleased with his efforts.”

Midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey further built up his fitness with a third U23 runout in a row, this time for the full 90 minutes, in a 3-0 victory at QPR on Tuesday afternoon.

Miles Leaburn, the son of former Charlton targetman Carl, scored a hat-trick.

Forster-Caskey had a significant spell on the sidelines recovering from his second ACL injury.

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