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Opposition Lowdown: Nathan Jones’ Charlton Athletic

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Charlton Athletic v Reading - Sky Bet League 1
Photo by Tom West/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Reading will be hoping to make it two wins in a week when they take on Charlton Athletic at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. Join us as we take a closer look at the opposition.

Form

Charlton Athletic finished last season in 10th place in League One in their third straight season in the third tier. They were relegated from the Championship during the 2019/20 season after finishing 22nd, one point behind Barnsley who finished in 21st place.

The Addicks are having a shaky season so far, sitting one place ahead of Reading in 19th, on the same number of points as the Royals following seven wins, 10 draws and 13 losses. Their recent form has been poor, having seen one draw and four losses in their last five games.

In fact they are winless in 12 league games, with their last league win coming at the end of November, when they beat Cheltenham Town 2-1. The two sides last faced each other in October, when the Addicks hammered Reading 4-0 at The Valley, with goals from Chuks Aneke, Tyreece Campbell, Alfie May and Miles Leaburn.

The boss

Nathan Jones: Jones was appointed Charlton manager last weekend, taking over from Michael Appleton who was sacked in January following a 12-match winless run.

Jones had a 20-year career as a midfielder, starting out in his homeland Wales, before representing the likes of Southend, Brighton & Hove Albion and Yeovil Town. Following his retirement, Jones took on a coaching role with Charlton in 2012, working with their under-21 team.

He joined Brighton a year later as assistant head coach to Oscar Garcia. He had a spell as caretaker manager of the Seagulls in 2014 before taking on his first full-time manager role at Luton Town in 2016. He was in charge of the Hatters for three years and guided the side to automatic promotion to League One in 2018.

He joined Stoke City as manager the following season but only lasted nine months in role before his sacking in November 2019. He returned to Luton in May 2020 and guided the side to the Championship playoffs, while also winning manager of the season in 2022. An ill-fated spell at Premier League Southampton followed in November 2022, where he lasted only three months, securing one league win during his time at the club.

This weekend marks his first game in charge of The Addicks. The 50-year-old Welshman likes his sides to play pressing football, with intensity in and out of possession.

Squad

Charlton lost one of their key players, Corey Blackett-Taylor, to Derby County during the January transfer window, but did manage to bring in nine players over the course of the window.

The Addicks completed the permanent signings of defenders Macaulay Gillesphey (Plymouth Argyle), Rarmani Edmonds-Green (Huddersfield Town) and Kayne Ramsay (Harrogate), while midfielder Conor Coventry also joined from West Ham United.

They also signed free agents Lewis Ward and Thierry Small. Midfielders Tyreeq Bakinson and Lewis Fiorini both joined the club on loan from Sheffield Wednesday and Man City respectively. Striker Freddie Ladapo also signed on loan from Championship Ipswich Town.

Striker Miles Leaburn will miss out on this weekend’s game with a hamstring injury, while defender Michael Hector, midfielder Panutuche Camara and striker Chuks Aneke are all fitness doubts.

Expected lineup

Maynard-Brewer, Hector, Gillesphey, Thomas, T. Watson, Edmonds-Green, Coventry, Bakinson, Fiorini, May, Ladapo

Key player

Alfie May: Striker May joined Charlton last summer, signing on a free transfer after the expiry of his contract with Cheltenham Town.

He started his youth career at Millwall, but had to resort to a career in non-league following his release from the club. He built a career in non-league representing the likes of Chatham Town, Erith & Belvedere and Hythe Town before signing his first professional deal with Doncaster Rovers in 2017.

May spent three years with Rovers, scoring 23 goals before signing for Cheltenham Town in 2020. May spent another three and a half years at Cheltenham, making 165 appearances for the club and scoring 66 goals.

The 30-year-old has been a hit at Charlton since moving to South London last summer, racking up 20 goals so far this season in 34 appearances. Charlton’s number nine plays as a central striker and is a strong finisher who holds the ball up well.

One to watch

Conor Coventry: Midfielder Coventry signed for Charlton during the January transfer window, joining from West Ham for an undisclosed fee. He is a product of the West Ham youth system, joining the Hammers at the age of 10.

He made his debut for the Hammers in 2018 and went on to make a further nine appearances for the club. He has had a number of loan spells in the Football League over the last four years, playing for the likes of Lincoln City, Peterborough United, MK Dons and Rotherham.

His move to Charlton ended a 13-year stay at West Ham but Coventry will now be hoping to play regular first-team football at his new club. The 23-year-old has represented the Republic of Ireland at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level.

Coventry is a defensive midfielder who is comfortable on the ball and is a good passer.

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