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The Stockley Problem

Jayden ‘The Headmaster” Stockley struggled to school the opposition as Wycombe made it six league games without an open play goal.

Life under Ben Garner has started off well for Charlton, recording nine points from six tough opening fixtures, beating the likes of Derby and Plymouth. As well as this, the South-London club has made the 3rd round of the Carabao Cup for the first time in six years, with the Addicks due to travel to League Two’s Stevenage. However, there is a resounding feeling amongst the fans that if they are to seriously challenge for promotion, a new striker must be bought in before the transfer window closes.

Last Season

Jayden started off last season poorly under Nigel Adkins. He would play as the lone number nine in a Charlton side that only won two league games in their opening thirteen. Stockley only netted foru times in that period. Adkins’ tactics were to utilise Stockley’s target man playstyle meaning Charlton would often be drawn into playing long ball football, but with no strike partner to run onto the balls that Stockley would knock on. However, things changed for the centre forward when Johnnie Jackson was introduced as caretaker manager. Jackson changed the formation to allow Northern Ireland International Conor Washington to play alongside Stockley, which made for a much better fit. Stockley seemed to have found his goal scoring touch, netting 14 times in all competitions under Jackson.

This Season

It’s a new dawn down at SE7 with Ben Garner now at the helm but how has that affected Jayden Stockley? Well, Ben Garner made his intentions to keep Jayden Stockley clear by fending off Sheffield Wednesday’s pursuit of the Addicks striker. This came as a bit of a surprise to Charlton fans as the new Charlton boss mostly employs a one striker formation, something that seems to have been a big weakness for Jayden in the past.

Despite this, Garner has been in favour of starting Stockley for the first few league games. However, despite some good results, it hasn’t been a great start for the Addicks striker as he has struggled to make an impact in the team with 0 open play goals so far, and only 1 penalty goal. The new high pressing style of play is not suiting the 28-year-old and he is often left behind on the counterattacks.

The big sticking point is that even his heading ability has been far below his standards, missing some big chances that last season, would have been nestling into the back of the net. Whether it is a question of Stockley’s confidence or that it’s just not the right fit, it is clear that Charlton need to sort this issue out as soon as possible if they are going to challenge for promotion.

Charlton’s other options

Six league games in and Charlton fans are crying out for a new striker to be bought in but unfortunately for them it is looking more and more unlikely. Ben Garner has stated that “As things stand, being honest, I don’t think we will be able to do that within our budget unless things move and change”. With this being the case, it is down to Chuks Aneke and Miles Leaburn to provide the competition for Jayden Stockley.

Aneke provides Garner with an amazing option of the bench, as the super-sub scored 15 goals for Charlton in the 2020/21 season, with only 102 minutes per goal. However, despite Aneke’s impressive goalscoring record for The Addicks in League One, he has a bad track record of being injury prone. The January signing was side-lined in a pre-season friendly with a calf injury and is yet to make an appearance this season.

This leaves academy prospect Miles Leaburn, son of former Charlton player Carl Leaburn. The 18-year-old was called up to the first team squad and so far, has impressed, scoring 2 league goals off the bench, and providing 1 assist in the Carabao Cup. Nevertheless, the last thing that Garner will want to have to do is rely on a young, unproven player to start every game, as it can be a detriment to their careers and stunt their development.

There is a clear weak point in Ben Garner's squad at the current moment that needs to be addressed before the transfer window closes.

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