BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Championship football was the main draw that led to Ben Purrington returning to Charlton – and now he and his teammates are determined to beat the odds and stay in the division.
The 23-year-old spent the second-half of last season on loan at The Valley from Rotherham and made the switch permanent this summer.
He had only ever made ten appearances for the Millers in the second-tier of English football but his first start at that level for the Addicks proved a fruitful one as he scored the opening goal of the 2-1 opening day win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
“Today, five or six were making their debuts in the Championship,” explained Purrington, who also spent time on loan at AFC Wimbledon last season.
“I’ve only played 10 or so games. It’s new territory for me as well. But a lot of them do have experience – Darren Pratley, Jason Pearce, Jake Forster-Caskey and Jonny Williams have played a lot of games in the Championship so it’s good to have them in the side – they’ve got the experience for the young lads as well.
“The structure of the club and the fanbase, it’s a Championship club. We have to show it on the pitch. I know I believe in all the lads and the manager installs that in us every day. He wants us to be better and improve every day. I’ve no doubt we’ll be OK. Keep improving and we’ll be fine.
“That was a key reason for coming back, the opportunity to play in the Championship. I’ve experienced here last year and enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a pleasure to be back with the boys. I’m enjoying it again. Hopefully we can kick on again and do well in the Championship.
“I went back to Rotherham for a few sessions knowing it was on the cards. It was always in the back of my mind, coming back. We got it done and I haven’t looked back. It’s a pleasure being back.”
The bookmakers have Charlton amongst the favourites for relegation this season but Purrington says the South Londoners can upset the odds.
“I don’t think you can really look into it too much,” he explained.
“We’ve come up from the league below. You can see the quality that we have in the team – the signings we’ve brought in and the people we had from last year. I think we’ve got more than enough to stay in the Championship and compete. Blackburn were a good team last year. They finished strongly and have got some good players in. They paid a lot of money for some of them. We showed today that we can compete with that and hopefully we can do that week in, week out now.”
PHOTOS BY KYLE ANDREWS