All pre-season predictions, this one by 'EFL pundit' Gab Sutton, need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but a 9th place finish sounds realistic.
One fan commented on Twitter: 'Bang on with Charlton. I think we fall short of the playoffs unless a major investment on a striker happens. Think we'll need time to adapt to Garner's style and I hope TS doesn't panic if we're midtable in November but finish strong.'
So here it is: 'Cautious optimism engulfs The Valley. ‘Cautious’, because this is a club with a point to prove: Thomas Sandgaard has done a lot for the Addicks in terms of investment, welcomed after the previous decade, but has at times been found wanting in strategic leadership.
‘Optimism’, because the South Londoners are starting to at least get a few things right.
Summer appointment Ben Garner is an esteemed coach who proved his credentials as a number one at Swindon last season, while recruitment under director Steve Gallen looks aligned with the manager’s possession heavy style.
Goalkeeper Jojo Wollacott brings excellent distribution, defender Eoghan O’Connell is a fine ball-player and Conor McGrandles is a selfless, adaptable midfielder: he starred when Lincoln reached the Play-Off Final in 2020-21.
McGrandles should forge one of the better trios in the league with holder George Dobson, hoping to recapture his form for Walsall and Wimbledon, blended with the playmaking flair of Swindon recruit Jack Payne or Scott Fraser (unless incorporated simultaneously).
Fraser could have earnt Championship moves in the previous two summers and, having emphatically quashed doubts over his work ethic at MK Dons in 2020-21, is more than capable of being among League One’s creative kings once again.
It’s a similar story for Charlie Kirk, who thrived on the left of a front-three at Crewe but was unlucky that Charlton deployed a 3-5-2 for much of the campaign: Garner will play a 4-3-3 this season and the 24-year-old may see the benefits.
It’s a big rebuild, though and patience will be required. [Some chance of patience with Charlton fans].
Sandgaard targets the top six, but the Dane must give the new management team the leeway to fall short of that objective, and still plan with assurance for better times.'