Photo: Kyle Andrews
BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton midfielder Darren Pratley says that caretaker boss Lee Bowyer was the pull that persuaded him to sign for the club.
33-year-old Pratley became a free agent after leaving Bolton Wanderers this summer and says that he knew he wanted to put pen to paper as soon as he met the caretaker Addicks boss.
“For me personally, he’s the main reason I joined,” revealed the former Swansea City man.
“When I met him in the hotel he made up my mind. I had other offers from the MLS and other clubs but the way he came across, he just seemed honest. He said if you play well you’re going to play, if you don’t then you won’t. As simple as that. He wants me to work hard for him. He’s the main reason why I signed.
“If he was to leave or wasn’t to get the job (full-time) it would be very disappointing for me because he’s the main reason why I signed. I didn’t know about the caretaker – I thought he was the gaffer. He is the gaffer to me. The sooner he gets that sorted out the better for the boys. But the boys see him as the gaffer, they don’t see him as the caretaker who’s going to be here for a couple of games while we wait for a new manager.
“I’ve settled in quite well. I’ve been here a couple of weeks now, I feel at home. I feel like I know everyone around the place. When I was at Fulham I made my Premier League debut at The Valley and the same with Swansea when we got into the Championship, my first game was here at The Valley. So, I’ve played here quite a few times. I’m familiar with the ground, I’ve settled in quite well at the training ground. I’m happy. I’m back at home in London, where I want to be and I’m happy.”
Bowyer had said during pre-season that Pratley was unlikely to be up to match-fitness for the beginning of the season, but injury to Jake Forster-Caskey meant the London-born midfielder was thrown straight in on opening day at Sunderland.
“I don’t think I was going to be involved but as everyone knows the squad is quite small,” he said.
“We haven’t really got a lot of players. So, I can step in. I’ve stepped in before when I’d been out for a long time out injured at Bolton and Swansea where I’d trained twice and played after being out for six months. Obviously, I’m going to get fitter the more games I play but if I’m needed I’ll try my best as I always do.”