BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer has described Darren Pratley as an “unbelievable pro” – with the experienced midfielder scoring a huge goal in last night’s League One play-off shootout with Doncaster Rovers.
The Addicks were facing defeat in extra-time when Pratley slid in to finish Lyle Taylor’s cross.
Although Charlton lost 3-2 on the night it squared up the tie on aggregate. The South Londoners won 4-3 on penalties.
Pratley, 34, was signed on a free transfer from Bolton in the summer. But the former Swansea City man has not been a regular starter in the Charlton midfield.
Bowyer said: “That’s why we bought him here – to this football club.
“Because you’ve got all these young kids and they are good and they are exciting. But you need a man, who is going to step up and steady the ship sometimes.
“When we go away, he is the one you need. He is a winner. He is a leader. Is he as good as some of those kids, technically? No, but that’s not why he is here. You’ve just seen why he is here tonight.
“It’s not just what you see on the pitch, every day around the training ground.
“You’ve got the young kids – Albie Morgan and George Lapslie – they are looking at him. He is so good, always encouraging them. He is an unbelievable pro.
“That’s why we brought him in. Everything we heard and now seeing it. Not one ounce of trouble and an experienced player who always wants to play. He played Championship most of his career.
“Now he has come down to League One so he should be thinking ‘now I’ll be playing’. He has been unbelievable all season.”
IMAGE BY PAUL EDWARDS