Karl Robinson says Charlton attacker Karlan Ahearne-Grant is lacking confidence.

Ahearne-Grant, 20, has started just two league games this term despite impressing in pre-season.

The versatile forward came on as a half-time substitute in Charlton’s 2-1 win over Rochdale last night. He gave the Addicks some much-needed pace which stretched the Dale defence.

And Robinson has given his backing to Ahearne-Grant, who could start against Scunthorpe this weekend because of injuries to Tariqe Fosu, Billy Clarke and Ben Reeves.

The Charlton boss told News Shopper: “He’s got to believe in himself more. He’s lacking confidence at the moment.

“He knows some of his performances haven’t been great - he needs to shake that.

“He does things that are magical - the pace this boy possesses is unquestionable. There’s far more to the game than being able to run.

“But I believe in him, if I didn’t believe in him, I wouldn’t put him on as many times as I do. But he’s got to start scoring and assisting goals.”

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A lack of strength in depth saw Ahearne-Grant forced into Charlton’s first-team as a 17-year-old.

And after a handful of Championship appearances, he was left out of matchday squads.

It looked as though the Addicks academy graduate would kick on in the 2017/18 campaign following an encouraging pre-season. But so far, he has failed to hold down a regular starting spot in Robinson’s promotion-chasing side. 

When asked why Ahearne-Grant’s confidence is low at the moment, Robinson added: “You just don’t know sometimes.

“The ball might not be dropping for you, and he’s questioning himself, you just don’t know.

“The psyche of a young player is very difficult to manage. But we try to do that internally.

“I've got tremendous belief in him. He’s still a very young player as well, with so much coming so soon in his career, he’s got a lot of learning to do about the game fundamentally, and what it takes to be a top player.

“That goes for all of the players. We’ve got a very young team and hopefully we can continue with these young players progressing through the football club.”