Charlton boss Nigel Adkins says Celtic are "way ahead of schedule" in pre-season

By Euan Davidson

July 9, 2021

Charlton Athletic boss Nigel Adkins has made some surprising comments ahead of his side’s meeting with Celtic in pre-season tomorrow.

The Bhoys square off against the Addicks tomorrow behind closed doors. Adkins’ League One side, the manager suggests, are way behind the Hoops in terms of preparation.

To that end, it’ll be a very youthful Charlton side that Celtic face tomorrow. But for Ange Postecoglou, youth is also likely to be running theme for at least one half in Wales tomorrow.

Speaking to London News Online, Adkins said:

“It is very early in our pre-season and Celtic are way ahead of schedule, they have got a European game next week – so they are in a far more advanced position than we are.

“We are looking at using 22 players – so you can work the maths out for yourself – it is a fantastic opportunity for our younger players, who have been in our academy, to sample playing against Celtic and being part of the first-team group for pre-season.

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“We’ll find out whether they are going to stay in the first-team group or maybe go out on loan.”

While Adkins obviously isn’t privy to Celtic’s goings on, it’s an interesting comment to make. Although there really are no stakes involved, it’s the kind of thing you hear before a competitive game, in some respects.

In respect to fitness, it’s possibly a huge compliment. Watching our game against Wednesday, there was initial rustiness, but the general standard of stamina and sharpness was surprisingly good for a game of that nature.

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From everything we’ve seen, the level of fitness training has been impressive across pre-season. While Celtic are hardly likely to show us panting players needing a sit down, all the signs are positive so far.

And that’s vital. The way Postecoglou likes to play, fitness is absolutely essential. We saw some evidence of that against Sheffield Wednesday; the level of pressing, even for a first pre-season friendly, posed real problems as the Owls began to tire.

Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Yes, Postecoglou made personnel changes. However, those were in the 60th minute. By the time Wednesday made their raft of substitutions on the 45th minute, Celtic were winning their 50/50s, creating opportunities and stretching out the opposition with rapid movement down the flanks.

Perhaps, Adkins watched that game and made his assessment.

But there are parallels. Even for a friendly, the number of Academy players Celtic used was impressive. Sure, we may see more of a veteran presence for a chunk of the game, but fans of both sides will see plenty of unfamiliar faces when the two teams square off tomorrow afternoon.

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