Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Unique Target Practice Can Help Pardew's Final Stretch

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Unique Target Practice Can Help Pardew's Final Stretch

Article excerpt

ALAN PARDEW took his Charlton players clay pigeon shooting this week all pa rt

of this most modern of managers' psychological preparations for tomorrow's massive clash with Sheffield United.

The Valley boss has already described it as a "must-win" game, with the Premiership futures of both clubs on the line, and with [pounds sterling]30million at stake Pardew decided it was essential to try to ease the pressure on his men, hence the novel form of target practice.

Coach Mark Robson, not noted for his sharp-shooting, is certainly enjoying Pardew's management style.

He said: "I'm loving it here and the rest of the lads are too. The clay pigeonshooting day was great fun and an ideal way to chill out before the big game. It was a complete change for the players as well and they are all buying into Alan's way of doing things.

"I have already learned a lot from him and Phil Parkinson after what has been a difficult season.

"Alan is so positive that everyone here really believes we can get the results which can keep us up." Pardew has certainly revived Charlton since he arrived on Christmas Eve with the club second from bottom of the table and seemingly destined for the drop.

They are now just two points below tomorrow's opponents and Pardew believes should his men survive it would be a greater feat than winning the Premiership title.

"This is a major trophy, more important than the trophy Manchester United and Chelsea are going for in terms of finance as well," he said.

"Since I joined, the results have felt like we are on apromotion push so I have tried to stay on that line.

"We have come from a long way back, clawed in three or four teams that were way past us, ten or 12 points away, and got it down to three points. We have done terrifically well.

"We have come up against Newcastle, Wigan and Everton. who have been right at full steam. So have we though and we have really competed.

"Our form over the last eight games has been European form but the important game is always the next one. …

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