‘False league position’ - Bristol Rovers boss delivers verdict on Charlton

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Charlton Athletic are Bristol Rovers’ opponents at the Memorial Stadium on Good Friday

Joey Barton has praised Dean Holden for the job he has done at rejuvenating Charlton Athletic ahead of their clash with Bristol Rovers.

The 43-year-old returns to Bristol, but instead heads to Horfield rather than Ashton, having previously been head coach of Bristol City. Holden succeeded former Gas boss Ben Garner in December, and has nearly guided them to safety.

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Holden - linked with the vacancy at Huddersfield Town before it was filled by Neil Warnock - has the Addicks currently in 12th and they are on a five-game unbeaten run. Charlton thrashed Shrewsbury 6-0 in their last match and are hoping to continue their good run of form at the Memorial Stadium, where Rovers haven’t won in six games.

In his pre-match press conference ahead of the Good Friday clash, Barton said: “They’ve turned a corner under the manager, I think he’s done a really good there Dean.

“In the last few weeks, they’ve got that confidence and got a couple of good results, some big results in there that sets them up nicely for the back end of the season.

“Charlton are in a false league position, they should be certainly capable of building a team to get out of the division.

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“As many of us find out, if you don’t quite get your culture and recruitment right regardless of the size of the fan base, you can end up demoted and there are some big clubs in the division below.”

Charlton are one of several former top-flight teams who find themselves in the third tier, having once dined at English football’s top tier. Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town, Barnsley, Bolton, Derby County, and Portsmouth have all played in the Premier League since its inception in 1992 but have struggled to get back. Charlton last played in the Premier League in 2007, and have been relegated to the third tier three times since then.

Barton added: “Another good ex-Premier League side that have lost their way and for them, they’ll be intent on beating us and keeping the run going.

“We’re quietly confident we can cause them lots of problems and we can get back to winning ways at home ourselves.”

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