Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 11:14PM UTC, Friday, 17 August 2012
Paul Mortimer hopes his summer signings give the Charlton women’s team some much needed firepower and maturity this season.
The Addicks have added to their young squad with the experience of West Ham duo Kelly Cooper and Gemma Shepherd as well as QPR’s Cherrelle Albert and Gillingham defender Sarah Jones.
Former Chelsea youngsters Emma Sherwood and Annabel Prior have also joined but it is Cooper and Shepherd who Mortimer believes will have the biggest impact this season, which begins on Sunday with a trip to Coventry.
He said: “We needed a bit of maturity. We needed a bit of understanding and a bit of composure because in spells last year, had we been a bit more mature, I think some of the defeats may have been draws.
“I wasn’t looking for young players, I have enough of them, I was looking for some experience. And they didn’t have to be magnificent players, it’s just about fitting into the squad and adding and helping the young kids around and just to make us stronger.”
Attacker Shepherd has been on Mortimer’s wish list since the start of last season and, despite training with Charlton a year ago, she elected to stay at West Ham for one last promotion shot.
Now she has signed for the Addicks though Mortimer admits she is better than he thought, adding: “She has been everything I thought she would be… and more.
“She is a much better player than I thought to be honest. She is a good character to have around, even temperament; she works hard, is a good team player but is also a very good individual and knows the game.
“She understands the game, understands what’s required, she will score goals, will make goals and is one of those players that is always on the move.
“She is not a watcher, she is a doer and that is what I want. In spells we have had too many watchers – people who are watching others do things – she actually gets involved.”
After losing just one game through pre-season, and an experiment with a different formation, Mortimer has seen his side enough and is encouraged by what he has seen.
“We wanted [to bring in] something different. We wanted a little bit more creativity, a little bit cuteness around the box. In Cherrelle we have definitely got that and she will make an impact without a doubt.
“We made no secret of the fact we needed two good quality senior goalkeepers – Kelly Cooper has come in at a great time to provide healthy competition for the No.1 jersey with Megen Lynch. Kelly is a good keeper who I have wanted to come for a while.
“Jonesy has fitted in lovely. She is a good player and I am going to push her as hard as I can because I think she is capable of playing in numerous positions.”
On the playing side, Coventry represents a wrong that needs correcting for Mortimer, after the Sky Blues twice defeated Charlton last season.
“We owe ourselves a performance because twice we weren’t good enough,” he said. “Coventry were just stronger than us, not better than us.
“I don’t think any team last season outplayed us but there were certain facets of the game we were not at our best in and we let ourselves down in. If we concentrate throughout the 90 minutes we will be a match for anyone.”