Charlton Athletic earned a point on League One’s opening weekend, sharing the spoils after a goalless draw with newly relegated Sheffield Wednesday at The Valley.
Nigel Adkins’ men will be looking to make their home turf a fortress in their bid to mount a promotion push, having missed out on the play-offs on goal difference in 2020/21. Both parties were content with a point against a promotion rival on matchday one despite the Addicks edging the second half, building confidence and familiarity amongst new additions for their trip to Oxford United this Saturday.
Here, then, are three things we learnt from the stalemate with the Owls…
Dobson the pivot
The energetic midfield trio of Sean Clare, Albie Morgan and George Dobson give Nigel Adkins bags of tactical flexibility in midfield areas.
Morgan – the most versatile – is comfortable operating across any midfield role, with Adkins opting to deploy Dobson as the deepest of the three, giving Clare and Morgan greater scope to roam forward as more attacking number eights, rather than a double pivot with Dobson alongside Clare to provide added protection for the back four.
It was an impressive full debut from tenacious Dobson, who signed from Sunderland this summer.
Stockley takes the armband
With club captain Jason Pearce no longer first choice at the centre of defence there was a decision to make in terms of the skipper, man mountain defender Ryan Inniss has taken the armband before but Adkins opted for Jayden Stockley.
The striker is also a summer signing, having impressed in a loan spell at the club last term. Despite not receiving much service in a somewhat scrappy affair he led the line well and put his body on the line for the side, his most effective contributions came in winning aerial battles at defensive set pieces.
Weak second string
The lack of squad depth was clear to see in the Addicks’ ranks and Adkins’ reluctance to use the bench demonstrated exactly that. The former Southampton gaffer only made one substitution and it did not come until the 89th minute when academy graduate Charles Clayden made his debut for the club by replacing Conor Washington.
Charlton huffed and puffed in the second half without the option of alternative personnel, having a squad this thin will significantly dent their chances of a promotion push over 46 games.