Under-21 forward Charles preparing for 2015/16
After a 2014/15 season full of highs and lows, Town’s Development Squad forward Jake Charles is doing everything he can to make the next campaign a success.
The 19 year-old missed large swatches of his first season as a professional through injury, but still did enough to convince Manager Chris Powell to hand him his First Team debut from the bench late in the season.
Now he’s putting in some hard work with Town’s medical staff over the closed season period at PPG Canalside to give himself every chance of a successful upcoming campaign, as he explained to htafc.com.
“I was injured for five months starting from the middle of pre-season. I initially rolled my ankle in the friendly at Stalybridge and that kept me out for a month, but during my rehab we realised I had a nerve issue in my back that was affecting my hamstring and my posture. I’ve subsequently had two injections to try and sort that out.
“During the season it is hard to do muscle strengthening as there’s football matches to prepare for in training, so I’m doing that with the staff now.”
Given the frustration of his extended injury lay-off, Jake admitted that his senior bow against Fulham in late March was a great boost.
Jake continued: “I would always like things to go even better, but I would have never thought I’d end up making my debut during my five months out! I’ve taken a lot of positives from that, plus I’ve learned from my time out injured.
“I was a bit nervous when I came on as we were 1-0 down at the time and I wanted to make an impact. Unfortunately Fulham scored again and despite constant pressure we couldn’t get the ball in the net; it was just one of those days.
“We keep being told that four or five consistently good performances can get you in and around the First Team and the Manager has shown that he will try and give you a go if you are good enough. That gives me confidence.”
Jake still made seven starts and three substitute appearances for Frankie Bunn’s Development side – scoring an impressive six goals – and has enjoyed being a part of the team as it reached the Professional Development League 2 Play-Off Final.
“I’ve worked with Frankie for three years now and the fact that he moved up to the Under-21 group helped my transition, but I’ve still noticed a step up in the level in terms of the work-rate,” Jake explained.
“We didn’t play that many overage players in the season, so it’s tended to be quite a young team. I think the players deserve a lot of credit for what they achieved and getting the taste of winning will make us want more next season.
“I think there’s a lot of potential in our Under-21 group. A few have already played for the First Team, but that doesn’t mean we’ve made it yet; we’ve all got to keep working hard.”
As for next season, the Academy graduate has a few clear goals in mind:
“I want to push for a place in the First Team. I’ve made my debut now, so the next step is to play consistently well for the Under-21s and to get in the First Team. That’s where everyone wants to be. I look up to the likes of Conor Coady, who isn’t that much older than me and is playing well in the Championship; that’s what I want.
“I also want to play for Wales’ Under-21 team. I was called up at the end of the season but I had to pull out through injury, which was disappointing. I’d love to make my debut for them too.
“I’m putting some hard work in now to try and make that happen. People have only seen a glimpse of me due to my injury, as it’s been hard to find my form and rhythm at times. Hopefully I’ll come back stronger next season.”
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