BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer is ready to sign a new contract with Charlton Athletic – and hopes next season he will be bossing the club in the Championship.
The Addicks manager and his assistant Johnnie Jackson see their current deals end in June.
But Lieven De Turck, owner Roland Duchatelet’s right-hand man on takeover talks, told a fans’ forum meeting on Monday that there was universal approval in the job the duo were doing – and that talks would start soon over contract extensions.
“I’m happy that they have approached me and the other side of it is that I want to stay,” said Bowyer, 42. “I want to finish this season on a high and get promotion – that’s the plan – and then go again in the Championship next season.
“I want to be a part of that. Everyone knows I love the club. I’m hoping we can come to an agreement but I don’t know how soon they are going to come back to me with something. But initial contact has been made.”
Head of recruitment Steve Gallen was a guest at the fans’ forum and revealed that all of the club’s potential signings are assessed by Thomas Driesen, pictured inset.
Driesen got plenty of criticism from fans for being part of the process when Charlton lost their Championship status. He was a key adviser to Duchatelet on transfers when the Belgian tycoon had his network of clubs.
Bowyer said: “Yes, Steve has to deal with Thomas. So we bring a list together of who our targets are and Steve runs them back to Thomas and Thomas then speaks to Roland. So there is a knock-on effect.
“But all I would say is that there are a hell of a lot of players we have put forward that they have backed. If you look at the recruitment this season I think it’s been good.
“I’m not going to lie, we’ve been lucky with a few in terms of what we’re paying. Would we be lucky again?
“There is nothing negative I can say, because they have backed us most of the time.”
Bowyer is yet to have discussions over a budget for next season if Charlton, fifth in the table, do not win promotion from League One and face a fourth year in the third tier of English football.
“I guess it will be tight. But we brought it down a lot from last season – I know the budget we had per player in these windows.
“It ain’t going to go up, I don’t think. We definitely cut back from last season. I really don’t know – it is guesswork at this stage – but I know it’s not going to go up, that’s obvious.”