An upbeat Karl Robinson spoke exclusively to Valley Pass ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Gillingham.
The manager touched on the positive feeling in the dressing room after Friday’s hard-fought draw with Wigan, explained what he learned from watching Gillingham yesterday and spoke about the importance of a strong start to 2018.
On tomorrow’s game
“We’re excited about the game. We closed the year with a positive performance, maybe not the points we wanted out of that but the players have been very confident. We’ve had a difficult patch and a lot of players have been out injured. People have started to come back to fitness in their drips and drabs but they players have been excellent, they really have. We just hope we can continue this togetherness and get some good results on the board.
“I went and watched Gillingham yesterday, they played a diamond yesterday. They’ve played a 4-2-3-1 and they spun it as well and played a flat 4-4-2. We have to have all of those variations in our mind when we go into the game. They’ve won the last four games away from home, so they’re in good form and we’re not and that is something they will look to capitalise on. They play more (than they did last time we played them), I don’t think the pitch at their place helps them. When you look at the games they’ve played away and the pitch has been nice, they’ve played a completely different style and I am sure that will be the case again tomorrow but it’s more about what we do. They’re coming to The Valley. It’s our home and we’ve got to make sure that we take the impetus and put our foot forward."
On injured players
“There are one or two that can drip into the squad. I think when you look at players starting to come back to fitness, there are an awful lot of people here that are working hard and around the clock to try and make my job harder (by getting players back to fitness to impact on) my selection processes. I am still making substitutions on minutes that they are allowed to play and that will be the case tomorrow. Fans will be thinking ‘why is he bringing him off’ but that’s all he can play and we’ve got to be careful with that because we don’t want to end up with a treatment table full again."
On the feeling in the squad after Wigan
“It’s not been too much dissimilar in some ways. We believe in each other. They believe in the staff and the staff believe in them. We believe in the club and we’ve got a common goal. There is no-one here for any ulterior motive and that’s a nice place to be when you can go into work and you know everyone is here for the right reasons and not for themselves.”
“Hopefully it is going to be a great year, a year full of excitement, a year full of takeovers and everything that goes with it. They’ll be so many different components of the year that people will foresee with excitement and that will start to build and we, fundamentally through all of this, have to win games and that is the most important thing.”
On the support of the Charlton faithful
“We (the team) perform sometimes inconsistently but they (the fans) perform at a very high level week in and week out. We expect nothing less than a very intense atmosphere tomorrow and a very well supported Charlton Athletic who are fully focused on the job in hand.”