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Opposition Lowdown: Michael Appleton’s Charlton Athletic

Reading return to action after the international break with another London away day, taking on Charlton Athletic in South East London. Join us as we take a closer look at the opposition. 

Charlton Athletic v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images


Charlton Athletic finished last season in 10th place in League One in their third straight season in the third tier. They were relegated from the Championship during the 2019/20 season after finishing 22nd, one point behind Barnsley who finished in 21st place.

The Addicks currently sit in 14th place in the league after four wins, three draws and four losses. They are unbeaten in their last six league games, with their last defeat coming away to Oxford United at the end of August.

The two sides last faced each other in the 2019/20 season when Charlton beat the Royals 0-2 at the Madejski Stadium, before Reading claimed a 0-1 win at The Valley towards the end of the season with George Puscas scoring a third-minute penalty.

The boss

Michael Appleton: Appleton was appointed Charlton manager in September, taking over from Dean Holden, who was the first Football League manager to be sacked this season.

Appleton’s playing career was cut short due to injury, but he represented Preston North End and West Bromwich Albion after coming through the academy at Manchester United. Having ended his playing career at West Brom, he stayed at the club in a coaching role before securing his first managerial role at Portsmouth in 2011.

Two short managerial spells at Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers followed, before Appleton had a more settled period at Oxford United, where he spent three years, guiding the club back to League One in 2016.

He then took up an assistant manager role at Leicester City and had a spell as a coach at West Brom before returning to management at Lincoln City in 2019 and then returning to Blackpool in 2022. Appleton likes his sides to play aggressive, forward-thinking football.


A total of 11 players came through the door at The Valley this summer, with six players joining on permanent deals and five arriving on loan. Goalkeeper Harry Isted, defender Lloyd Jones and former Reading academy product Tennai Watson all joined on free transfers. Left-back Tayo Edun (Blackburn Rovers), midfielder Terry Taylor (Burton Albion) and forward Alfie May (Cheltenham Town) also joined for undisclosed fees.

Defender James Abankwah (Udinese), midfielders Chem Campbell (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Panutche Camara (Ipswich Town) and Louie Watson (Luton Town) and forward Slobodan Tedic (Manchester City) all joined on season-long loan deals.

Nine players left the club over the summer, including goalkeeper Joe Wollacott who signed for Hibernian, right-back Sean Clare who signed for Wigan Athletic, midfielder Albie Morgan (Blackpool) and forward Macauley Bonne, who signed for Gillingham.

The Charlton squad features four former Royals who made first-team appearances: goalkeeper Sam Walker and defenders Tennai Watson, Michael Hector and Terell Thomas. Goalkeeper Isted, defender Edun and midfielders Conor McGrandles and Taylor will all miss out on this Saturday’s game through injury.

Expected line-up

Maynard-Brewer, T. Watson, Hector, Jones, Thomas, Dobson, L. Watson, Tedic, Blackett-Taylor, May, Leaburn

Key player

George Dobson: Midfielder Dobson joined Charlton in July 2021, signing on a free transfer following the mutual termination of his contract at Sunderland. He started his youth career at Arsenal, before joining the West Ham United youth setup at the age of 17.

He never made a first-team appearance for his boyhood club but did have a loan spell at Walsall, before moving to Sparta Rotterdam on a permanent deal in 2017. His stay there only lasted six months before Dobson rejoined Walsall, this time permanently. He made 60 appearances for The Sadlers before moving to Sunderland in 2019.

Having fallen out of favour at Sunderland, Dobson spent the second half of the 2021/22 season on loan at AFC Wimbledon, before he then joined Charlton that summer.

Dobson has gone on to make 108 appearances for Charlton and is now captain of the club. The 25-year-old is a central midfielder who can also play in defence. He likes a tackle but is also an effective passer of the ball.

One to watch

Miles Leaburn: Striker Leaburn joined Charlton in 2019, joining the Athletic under-16 side, having previously been in the youth set-up at Chelsea. Son of Charlton legend Carl Leaburn, Miles signed his first professional contract with the club in 2022.

He made his debut for the Addicks at the start of the 2022/23 season and made an instant impact, scoring the equaliser against Accrington Stanley after coming off the bench.

Leaburn has gone on to make 48 appearances for Charlton, scoring 18 goals. The 19-year-old usually plays as a striker, but can also play on the wing. Standing at 6ft 5, Leaburn is an aerial threat and a strong finisher.