JEROME Thomas' future as a Charlton player has been placed in doubt after manager Alan Pardew conceded he may struggle to keep hold of him.

The Addicks chief has been told to drastically cut the wage bill in SE7 and has already seen several high-profile names leave the club this summer.

Pardew knows there is still some way to go yet before things are on an even keel financially and admitted a high earner like Thomas is an obvious candidate to join the exodus.

The manager said: "I think in some quarters there are some players here, and some of the players who played in the Premier League, where the salaries are high and I've found it very difficult to keep hold of.

"I have to manage the club and make sure I protect us financially this year and Jerome could be in that category.

"We are going to try and release a few members from the squad because I think it is important I don't carry too many squad players this year, so I'm trying to loan out three or four players this week before we play Watford. We are making calls and there are a couple of very close calls today."

The manager also confirmed discussions with Stoke over a move to the Britannia for Amdy Faye are on-going, while Zheng Zhi is still highly likely to leave the club.

Charlton are still keen to boost their defensive options and Sunderland's Paul McShane and Portsmouth's Martin Cranie and Marc Wilson are all potential candidates.

Pardew remained tight-lipped when asked about McShane, but was slightly more forthcoming about Wilson and Cranie.

He said: "Marc Wilson is a player I looked at but I feel he has got a little bit more developing to do before he gets to us in terms of his age and everything else, but I think he is a good player and somebody I'm definitely keeping my eye on.

"However, I don't think Harry Redknapp wants to loan him at the moment because he is a bit short himself. It is the exact same with Martin Cranie."

Pardew added: "There are a lot of players in squads who aren't getting games, but I've told you my criteria is players who have a genuine hunger and desire to do well for Charlton and the fans."

The manager also reiterated his belief Hameur Bouazza, who arrived at The Valley on loan from Fulham last week, is an individual who meets the criteria.

He added: "I see in Bouazza a player whose hunger is there and who trained so well today because I thought he was a bit disappointing on Tuesday in his first game.

"That is the sort of reaction you want. He wants to be in the team on Saturday and prove to everyone at Charlton he is good enough for us.

"This is something I will be looking for with the defensive signing, whoever it is.

"It looks like I won't be able to do a permanent deal, it will have to be a loan and it will be someone of that ilk I push the button on."

One man who is on board is midfielder Nicky Bailey, who signed on the dotted line yesterday after Charlton finally agreed a deal with Southend.

Pardew is delighted to seal Bailey and predicted a bright future in SE7 for the former Fulham trainee.

The manager explained: "What Nicky Bailey has is hunger. He has had to come out of football having been released from Fulham into non-league, so has had to work really hard and has the hunger and desire some of the players who have come through the system don't have.

"It is one of the reasons I brought Mark Hudson in because he was released by Fulham and has the hunger to succeed and get into the Premier League.

"I think there is a very good chance he will start on Saturday because a couple of people the other night against Yeovil were handed a chance and haven't taken it.

"Those players who played well against Swansea have a good chance of starting but Nicky Bailey now threatens them, but I didn't see much on Tuesday to threaten them other than our new signing."

Central defensive duo Mark Hudson and Jon Fortune are both expected to have recovered from minor injuries in time to face Watford on Saturday.