It’s easy to see why Nigel Adkins took the Charlton Athletic job.
The vastly-experienced 56-year-old has a proven track record in the lower leagues of English football and would’ve leapt at the opportunity to save them from their freefall.
He arguably made his name at Southampton, where he led the south coast outfit to back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League, handing them a shot at the big time after a seven-year absence.
There are plenty of similarities between that Saints side and the Addicks now; former top-flight teams dwindling in the third tier, foreign owners prepared to stump up the cash to save the club, and a fanbase to fit a 27,000-seater stadium.
But could Adkins take inspiration from a side that won promotion a decade ago? He’s certainly well-equipped to…
In Preston loanee Jayden Stockley, the Charlton manager could find his next Rickie Lambert – a powerful striker fit to lead the line at this level.
The 27-year-old talisman has very much had a comparable career to that of the Saints legend, prior to their arrivals at their respective clubs, both were well-travelled.
Lambert jumped from club to club in the lower leagues, playing for the likes of Blackpool, Macclesfield Town, Stockport County and Bristol Rovers before finding his feet at St Mary’s.
Stockley has played for 14 different clubs, thanks largely to boyhood club AFC Bournemouth shipping him out on loan every year.
Both stand at 6 foot 2, and are known for their target man ability. Indeed, WhoScored list the £810k-rated forward as a threat from set-pieces whilst a whopping 6.3 aerial duels won across League One and the Championship only reinforces that thinking.
No other Addicks star is managing to win as many battles in the air as Stockley (9.4). Speaking about his strength, former teammate Sean Maguire once said: “He’s a fantastic player. The guy can hold up a house. He’s strong and his hold-up play is one of the best I’ve played with.”
This sort of ability should see Stockley fit in a range of systems and tactics – two-up top? one-man? He should be able to do it all. Just like Lambert at the Saints.
Adkins could be onto a winner if he draws inspiration from his old side, and the five-goal loan star must be at the centre of it all up top.