Charlton will be celebrating the club’s Academy Day at The Valley on Saturday when Blackburn are the visitors.

The club have relied heavily on the academy’s youth this season in what has been an injury hit campaign for Lee Bowyer, making the tenth anniversary of celebrations even more fitting.

With current first team stars including Alfie Doughty, Albie Morgan, Dillon Phillips and George Lapslie all having come through the ranks at the club, it’s clear to see that there’s a genuine pathway to make the step-up from youth to first team football in SE7.

As part of celebrations each academy player will make their way around the pitch at half-time on Saturday, taking in the atmosphere from the capacity crowd expected at The Valley, an experience that U23 Coach Jason Euell feels will only spur them on to make it.

“I don’t think a lot of them will know what will hit them until they’re out there,” Euell said.

“Obviously a few of the boys have been in and around it a few years, but the amount of people expected on Saturday will be a shock to the system.

“Those boys dreams are to be playing first team football at Charlton, and if they can see what it’s like on Academy Day, then to feel what it’s like to play in front of all those people, it just pushes them even more to fulfil their dream.

“It’s also a chance for everyone from Valley Gold to get recognised too, what we do in terms of bringing boys through to our first team.”

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Valley Gold is a supporters members group who since 1992 have been focussed on supporting the academy financially. It’s through their involvement the Addicks have been able to continue producing the talent off the conveyor belt at Sparrows Lane that go on to have established careers.

“The players we get through the door, they know there’s a pathway for them,” Euell continued.

“They’ve already got the carrot there which is to fulfil their dream of playing first team football.

“With them coming into our club at any age, we’ve got to continue that drive and help achieve their goal.

“Obviously it can’t be true for every player, but our ambition is to get them in either the first team or out on loan, or if nothing materialises at Charlton then to have a career elsewhere.

“It is because of the pathway we have, that keeps these boys wanting to do well.”