Charlton’s promotion was marred by a tinge of sadness for Darren Pratley.

The midfielder’s inclusion in Lee Bowyer’s starting XI at Wembley was no surprise after his semi-final goal-scoring heroics from the bench, but his gain was ultimately Albie Morgan’s loss.

Morgan, 18, started both legs of the semi-final against Doncaster before being subbed for Pratley in both as the former Bolton man’s experience proved crucial in their progress to the final.

The Academy product failed to make the matchday squad for their 2-1 victory over Sunderland, a decision Pratley had mixed emotions about.

“Delighted to be starting, but I’m a little upset for Albie at the same time,” the 34-year-old said.

“From a selfish point of view it’s obvious I wanted to play, but for a young lad to start the games (V Doncaster) and not be in the squad here it’s hard to take.

“First and foremost we’re human beings and I was a little upset for Albie.

“But he’ll have a great career, Albie has a bright future, and I’m sure he’ll play on this stage many more times throughout his career.”


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Pratley impressed in central midfield and almost found himself on the scoresheet for the second game running as he nearly beat Ben Purrington to Lyle Taylor’s cross that the left back slotted to bring the game level.

“I nearly got to it, I tried to throw my head at it, I couldn’t get my legs beneath my body, couldn’t get my head there, wasn’t to be!” he joked.

“But I’m delighted for Ben, I thought he was brilliant and in my opinion he was Man Of The Match today.”


Pratley was substituted himself on 70-minutes, and was off the pitch when Patrick Bauer’s injury time winner was bundled home, not that it stopped him from running down the touchline to join the euphoric celebrations.

“We’ve given him a bit of stick all week because he hadn’t scored this season, and to be fair he’s probably scored the most important goal he’s ever going to score.

“I’m buzzing for him, buzzing for the club.”