Charlton captain Jason Pearce has had to bide his time on the side-lines since returning from injury due to the inspired form of Naby Sarr – and he admits that the Frenchman fully deserves his place in the side.
Pearce, 31, suffered a knock during the loss at Barnsley in late December and Sarr grasped his opportunity in the heart of the defence with both hands in his absence. Boss Lee Bowyer saw no reason to drop Sarr as soon as Pearce became available again at the back end of February.
Former Wigan man Pearce did start during Tuesday evening’s battling 1-0 win at Wycombe, scoring the winning goal shortly before half-time – but says he has no qualms with being made to wait his turn to return to the side.
“I know that,” Pearce said.
“I’m old enough to know that and at the end of the day, that’s football. I got injured, Naby gets his opportunity and he’s taken it. I’m one of them, I’m honest to myself, I’m honest as a person, he doesn’t deserve to be dropped. Obviously, I want to play, it’s frustrating, but it’s a team game and he’s done well. I support him and Pat (Bauer) all the time.
“I just wait for my opportunity. Today, I got an opportunity and I felt like I took it. We’ll see what the manager does at the weekend (against Luton). If I get called upon, I’ll always do my best. I’m the captain of the club at the minute, everyone knows what I’m about. A game like tonight was perfect for me but Saturday might be different, I don’t know. If I’m not selected, then I’ll keep supporting the team. We all want to achieve the same things.
“I was pleased to get a start. Naby has been playing and he’s been doing really well so I’ve had to wait for my opportunity. We knew what they were about today. They’re fighting for their lives at the bottom. We knew it would be a tough game. All the lads gave everything tonight. I was fortunate enough to pop up with a goal and it was the winner in the end. I’m delighted.
“I’m pleased to get back, I’ve had a tough time with injuries. The way I play, I’ll pick up some injuries. But I’m pleased to play, to get out there today and provide a goal for the team and get the clean sheet. The most important thing is the victory.
“We had to win our battles tonight. Everyone gave their all, to a man. We rode our luck towards the end, they had a couple of good chances from which Dillon (Phillips) made a couple of good saves. A few blocks from the boys. But we hung on in there. It’s a tough place to come but it was vital that we got the three points.”