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Valley View: Charlton Athletic midfielder Lawrie Wilson writes for the KM Group

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You know that you’ve stepped up a level when you have a weekend off due to international fixtures.

Although I returned to Charlton over the summer, this season has seen a number of new experiences for me.

I’m playing in a higher league for the fourth year in a row, and for the first time in a long time, I’m not currently in the starting XI.

That’s not hard to understand. I’m coming into a squad that won League 1 last season, so it’s up to me to show the manager what I can do. I know my chance will come.

That said, I’m used to playing 50-plus games per season for the past three or four years, so it’s hard getting used to coming off the bench but that’s football.

I came on as a substitute against Leicester last month and it was hard because the pace of the game was so fast. You’ve always got to be ready to play, though. If I’m not playing or starting, I need to be pushing the person that is in my position.

If they are better than me, then it’s good for the team. But I’ll always push as hard as I can and be ready.

I had a good few years with Stevenage before returning to Charlton. We won promotion to the Football League, promotion to League 1 and then reached the play-offs last season.

It just shows that sometimes you have to take a backwards step to move forwards.

Once a move to Charlton became a possibility, there was only one place I wanted to be – even though I wasn’t offered a contract when I was in the club’s academy.

It was a little bit of a surprise when I was told I wouldn’t get a professional deal (in 2006). I had travelled with the first team a few times but it wasn’t to be and I felt like I’d hit rock bottom.

I asked for advice before rejoining the club and certain people said ‘you should never go back to your old clubs’ and things like that but I’ve never been one for superstitions.

We were beaten for the first time in the league this season at Nottingham Forest last weekend but we have the perfect home game on the horizon in which to pick ourselves up. We’ll work hard during the break and make sure we’re ready to face Crystal Palace next Friday.

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