Charlton Athletic moved to within two points of the playoff zone with their resolute win over fellow promotion hopefuls Doncaster Rovers on Good Friday, but there has been a serious lack of foresight that could cost them dearly past the current campaign.
It is true that the Addicks still do not know which division they’ll be competing in next season.
Whilst automatic promotion seems out of reach, they could well repeat their 2019 exploits and return to the Championship via the playoff final, should they get there. And then there’s a chance they miss out entirely and are condemned to another season in the third tier.
Either way, the newly-appointed Nigel Adkins needs bodies tied down for next season, but as it stands, no fewer than eight first-team players are out of contract this summer and six loanees should be set to depart, too.
One of those Valley stars is current club captain Jason Pearce. It seems farcical that someone of his calibre is being allowed to run down his contract – after all, he’s still kept the armband under the former Southampton hero.
The 33-year-old veteran is a key cog in this Charlton side, having featured 20 times in the league, in which he’s started their last seven matches. It’s not a coincidence that the Addicks have been unbeaten in that time either.
Pearce is consistent in the heart of defence, bringing home a 6.70 average WhoScored rating for 2020/21. This is above 11-goal frontman Conor Washington (6.69), and fellow stalwarts Chris Gunter (6.54) and Darren Pratley (6.51).
Evidently, he still has a lot to give, irrespective of whether it’s Championship or League One football next season. He’s played for the club in both divisions, racking up a total of 141 appearances – further proving just how big a player he has been for the southeast Londoners.
He’s more than just an impact on the pitch, too. Ex-manager Lee Bowyer waxed lyrical about his leadership to the club’s official website in 2018, he said: “You couldn’t have asked for a better player to look up to than Jason Pearce on Tuesday night because he is a leader and he will put his body on the line for you.”
Sentiments echoed by Ryan Inniss, who himself has missed large parts of the season through injury but dubbed his central defensive counterpart “brilliant.”
Similarly, following the win over Rovers, journalist Benjy Nurick claimed Pearce has “become one of the squad’s most important players again.”
This is the sort of figure that Adkins will need to keep around this summer, so letting him run down his £5.1k-per-week contract is certainly on the verge of being one massive disaster – and that falls into the hands of Steve Gallen, who should have offered him fresh terms by now.
AND in other news, Forget Maatsen: THIS Addicks star stole the show on Good Friday…