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Zheng's availability an unexpected bonus for Addicks

Alan Pardew is glad to still have Zheng Zhi at his disposal
Alan Pardew is glad to still have Zheng Zhi at his disposal

Zheng Zhi's failure to agree personal terms with West Bromwich Albion and move before the closure of Monday's transfer window left Charlton with an unexpected bonus, manager Alan Pardew admitted.

The midfielder and huge Valley crowd favourite will be available at least until the window re-opens in January.

The Addicks had been forced to listen to offers for China's captain purely for reasons of economy with the manager under pressure to trim the wage bill.

Pardew, who singled out his midfield for criticism after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Preston, said: "Having ZZ stay has come as a big bonus. From my point of view I have a player who wants to be at this club, not one who will be sulking because he didn't move in the window.

"At the moment, he's nursing a groin injury and it will be touch and go whether he will be available for selection to face Wolves on September 13.

"But he needs a rest because last season, with his commuting to China for internationals, he suffered from burn out."

Pardew beat Monday's deadline by 20 minutes to sign Portsmouth's Martin Cranie on a season-long loan and looks certain to hand him his debut against Wolves.

The 21-year-old England Under-21 international is likely fill the right-back berth, his preferred position, rather than in central defence.

"Our interest in Martin was an open secret," Pardew added. "He was exceptional in central defence when he played against us for Queens Park Rangers while on loan from Portsmouth. In fact he can play anywhere across the back four.

"But he wants to play at right-back and, at the moment, that's where I'll use him."

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