Charlton Athletic are on the verge of making a massive mistake over out-of-contract midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey.
The Addicks are starting a new era at The Valley after long-serving midfielder-turned-manager Lee Bowyer swapped south east London for another old home in Birmingham City.
In has come Nigel Adkins, with the side sitting ninth in League One, firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot come to the end of the season. But his job will be made harder if Charlton chief Steve Gallen doesn’t start planning for the future.
And the best place to start would be tying down their most influential player…
The 26-year-old dynamo has now been at the club for five years but is arguably enjoying his best season in an Addicks shirt.
Indeed, Forster-Caskey current ranks as Charlton’s second-best player as per WhoScored ratings, grading at 7.18. Only Preston loanee Jayden Stockley is managing better (7.18).
In 26 league appearances, the £6k-per-week gem has delivered five goals and two assists, which puts him as their third-highest goalscorer, too.
Forster-Caskey offers an industrious box-to-box presence and that’ll be something Adkins will want to keep hold of, if he’s to persist with a 4-4-2 formation. You need someone that can contribute up and down the pitch.
As per WhoScored, the midfielder is averaging two tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game, showing an ability to not only read the game defensively but actually put that intelligence into action, as well as managing to average 1.4 shots and 1.3 key passes per game on top of his direct goal contributions.
Just before his departure, Bowyer emphasised how crucial he is to the team.
“We’ve missed him,” said the 44-year-old to LondonNewsOnline. “Jake will [drive his teammates on]. If you do see your teammate running and fighting and pressing then it has a natural reaction. You have to go with him because if not you stand out like a sore thumb. He does have that impact. He’s been here since day one when I was here. He does have that aura in the dressing room. He has that respect.”
Whilst ex-Addicks boss Karl Robinson has previously lauded him as “unbelievable.”
Letting his contract run down until the end of the season is a dangerous game to play, given his influence on the squad. Gallen is running the risk of seeing one of Adkins’ star players leave for nothing.
That would be catastrophic.
The Charlton director of football must tie the 26-year-old down as soon as possible.
AND in other news, Nigel Adkins could unearth his next Adam Lallana in “improving” 20 y/o gem