Sam Lavelle has made an excellent start at Charlton Athletic despite the club’s poor form at the start of the 2021/22 season.
The 24-year-old was a key component in Morecambe’s remarkable promotion from League Two last season and will be hoping to continue his upward trajectory at The Valley.
Three games in Lavelle has played alongside both Akin Famewo and Jason Pearce in central defence and is set to be a mainstay in the Addicks backline for the remainder of the campaign.
Here, we take a look at his spell with the South Londoners in detail in our latest hat-trick piece…
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How’s it gone so far?
It was a turbulent debut for the former Shrimps skipper with Cheltenham Town racing into a 2-0 lead in front of an audibly frustrated Charlton home crowd. A lack of protection from midfield was a concern over the two strikes, with little blame attached to Lavelle and Famewo at the heart of defence.
A third consecutive 2-1 loss on the road followed with Lavelle bagging his first goal for the club, halving the deficit in second half additional time. Not the kind of goal you want as your first in a disappointing defeat, but powering in the header at the back post must have been a special moment for the 24-year-old in spite of the circumstances.
A much improved performance on Tuesday evening brought Lavelle’s third successive start with the Addicks unfortunate not to take all three points from Steve Evans’ Gillingham, with Ben Purrington’s own goal leading to a 1-1 draw at Priestfield Stadium.
Quiz: Are these 22 Charlton Athletic stats real or fake?
What issues does he face?
With Nigel Adkins firmly under pressure in SE7, Sam Lavelle could find himself playing under a different manager to the one who signed him with only a handful of appearances for the club to his name.
The evident lack of confidence that ravaged the side in their 2-1 defeat at home to Cheltenham Town cannot have given Lavelle a good first impression of his new team-mates but in time things should pickup.
Currently playing alongside Football League stalwart Jason Pearce will be a good learning experience for Lavelle but will also require him to cover for the 33-year-old’s shortcomings.
Lavelle’s toughest test in an Addicks shirt is on the horizon.
The prospect of dealing with Marcus Harness, John Marquis and Ronan Curtis all at once will be challenging, along with Portsmouth’s runners from midfield like Ryan Tunnicliffe.
With Charlton only picking up five points from their opening eight the home crowd could be quick to turn on the team and the manager if they go behind against Pompey, an atmosphere that Lavelle probably did not have to contend with at Morecambe. Time will tell if Lavelle and his team-mates can step up to the challenge of Danny Cowley’s men.