Charlton Athletic's Dale Stephens writes for the KM Group
You can never predict what will happen
On Saturday, we were at home in front
of a packed Valley facing a team most supporters probably expected
us to beat. We lost.
On Tuesday night, we travelled to the
intimidating arena of Elland Road to take on much-fancied Leeds.
And we deserved to win.
Also on Tuesday night, I was supposed
to play. I didn’t.
Dealing with the final one of those
points first, although selected in the starting line-up, I felt my
hamstring tighten during the warm-up and when I reported it to the
medical and coaching staff, we took the decision that it was better
to pull out as a precaution than play and risk getting injured.
It was the last thing the team needed
in terms of our preparation but Bradley Pritchard stepped in and
In fact, the entire team played well
and only the woodwork and some inspired saves by Paddy Kenny
prevented us from winning.
It would have been a welcome win after
our defeat against Barnsley at the weekend. We didn’t play well and
the performance came at the wrong time for us as it was in front of
more than 26,000 fans as part of the Football for a Fiver
Hopefully, the fans enjoyed their day,
if not the result and will be back at The Valley soon.
There was a chance that I wouldn’t be
here. At the end of the August transfer window, a Premier League
club expressed interest in me and began negotiating with the
Indeed, the manager made the decision
to leave me behind for the match against Nottingham Forest because
I might have needed to have been withdrawn at the last minute. That
was his decision and I was fine with that.
I didn’t know where I would be on the
Friday but as soon as the window shut, I knew I could play my
football and settled down and got straight back to what I was doing
previously – my best for Charlton.
I’m a professional footballer and I
just wanted to be professional about the situation. I think I was.
The manager helped me. He kept me in the loop and protected me a
I was happy with how it was handled and then I was ready to get
straight back to work.
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