The Insider: Pompey old boys key figures for Charlton ambition

Former Pompey defender Jason Pearce
Former Pompey defender Jason Pearce
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey closing in on Fratton Park friendly

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Jason Pearce could return to Charlton’s side tomorrow, which would be a fantastic boost.

He played really, really well in the first part of the season before injuring a knee against Bury in September.

Similarly, last season he tore his groin muscle off the bone at Bradford and the Addicks subsequently fell apart off the back of that.

Their form completely went out of the window until his return in April and surely that cannot have been a coincidence.

However, during Pearce’s latest injury spell they have managed to cope fairly well, keeping themselves in the top six and demonstrating a little more resilience.

The 30-year-old leads by example and is the club’s best defender, so it’s a major, major boost that he is coming back heading into this hectic Christmas period.

On Tuesday night, Pearce started the Checkatrade Trophy match against Swansea under-21s and, as previously arranged, came off in the 45th minute.

Now he is in the frame to start against former club Pompey at The Valley.

Another player Pompey fans may be interested in is Ricky Holmes, who remains such a key performer for Karl Robinson’s side.

Normally, Charlton’s boss likes to rotate the front four to keep them fresh and sharp, but this season he hasn’t largely been able to do that.

That stems from a lack of strikers, meaning Holmes and Josh Magennis have played a lot of games, sometimes three in a week.

In the summer the club let Nicky Ajose go on loan to Bury and terminated Lee Novak’s contract so he could join Scunthorpe.

Then there is Joe Dodoo on loan from Rangers, who hasn’t been given the game time and Robinson clearly doesn’t fancy him.

It is not surprising the manager wants two centre-forwards in January.

Still, Holmes is an excellent player and recently netted with a superb free-kick against AFC Wimbledon.

Last year he set the benchmark incredibly high with the way he performed and he remains one of Charlton’s main men.

And even if there are occasions when it is not going right for him, he keeps going with a work ethic that can never be questioned.

Others to catch the eye this season include Jake Forster-Caskey, who has been excellent, while winger Tarique Fosu-Henry was in-form until injury.