As transfer deadline day edges closer, Charlton Athletic will be hoping to make at least a couple more additions to build on their existing work from earlier in the summer.
These signings could prove to be crucial to a side that have failed to win any of their opening four games of the season, drawing one and losing three.
Despite facing four tough sides in Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford United, MK Dons and Charlton Athletic, they will be very disappointed with this record under a manager like Nigel Adkins who has promotion-winning pedigree in the third tier.
Quiz: Have Charlton Athletic won or lost more against each of these 25 English teams?
Big expectations, a slow start and a previous promotion-winning manager have effectively made Charlton the League One version of Sheffield United this season – and like the Blades – there’s still plenty of work to do on incomings before the end of the month.
We take a look at just two in this piece.
Stick with Gunter or twist?
With Ian Maatsen returning to Chelsea on the expiration of his loan spell and a senior replacement yet to come in during the summer, right-back Chris Gunter has played on the left-hand side so far this season.
The situation has been made worse by natural left-back Ben Purrington’s absence, with the 25-year-old missing the Addicks’ opening four league games of the 2021/22 third-tier campaign due to the hamstring injury he sustained in pre-season against Reading.
He was expected to return to training this week – but many Charlton fans may feel they need a left-back even with their current absentee returning to Nigel Adkins’ first-team squad. But at this stage of the window, who do they bring in?
Bringing Maatsen back is no longer a possibility after joining Coventry City on a temporary spell and the likes of free agents Neil Taylor and Joe Bennett are unlikely to drop down to the third tier just yet, so a loan deal could be the best option at this stage.
Whichever route they go down, Welsh international Gunter is unlikely to be an effective option on the left in the long term. He can do a job, but that’s about it as a right-footed player. This is why they need to weigh up whether to bring in another left-back even with Purrington closing in on a return.
An advanced midfielder on the agenda?
Charlton have already brought in two central midfield players in the last couple of months, but George Dobson and Sean Clare both normally operate from deep and this may leave space for Adkins to bring in a more attacking midfielder.
He lost both Erhun Oztumer and Marcus Maddison on the expiration of their deals at The Valley this summer and despite recruiting wingers Corey Blackett-Taylor and Charlie Kirk this month, creativity in the middle will be needed.
21-year-old Albie Morgan can do a job there but they may want more depth, quality and experience in this position to ensure they’re competing at the right end of the table this term.
And after scoring just two goals in their four League One games so far this season, this creativity in the middle of the park could help the likes of Conor Washington and Jayden Stockley start firing in the goals and compensate for the loss of Chuks Aneke.
Last season showed the duo could be relied upon to convert their chances but they need to service to succeed. And in the end, this could be the key to a brighter season that was originally expected to be a promotion push, after such a bright end to the 2020/21 season.