Pardew wants Pressley's 'leadership' at Charlton

December 28, 2006

Charlton's new manager Alan Pardew is ready to strengthen his squad by convincing former Hearts star Steven Pressley to help them stay in the Premiership.

Pardew will hold talks with the Scottish international in the next 24 hours and is hopeful of adding some much-needed leadership before the start of the transfer window on January 1.

Pressley watched the game against Fulham from the stands and is a free agent after leaving Hearts in the wake of his criticism of majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov.

Pardew confirmed: 'We are interested in bringing him here before the transfer window but I am never confident about signings until they are done.

'What I like about him is that he is a leader. I think we have got some very good centre-halves here but he comes into a pack where we need characters and leadership and that's one thing that attracts me to him.'

Pressley will be a valuable addition to the squad if Pardew and convince him to move south of the border.

Charlton's lack of defensive qualities was more than evident as a late Franck Queudrue goal robbed Pardew of a winning start to his career as manager at The Valley last night.

Brian McBride had put Fulham in front in the 12th minute but Darren Ambrose and Darren Bent - with his 10th of the season - had given Charlton an interval lead.

The Addicks were cruelly robbed of their fourth win of the season though thanks to an error by referee's assistant Steve Artis.

He incorrectly flagged for handball by Djimi Traore and when Michael Brown's free-kick was partially cleared, Queudrue was on hand to despatch a low shot into the corner of the net.

A disgruntled Pardew said: 'It was almost an unfathomable decision. I am absolutely disgusted. Mistakes happen but the official made a bad mistake. We were two minutes from ecstasy but now we feel deflated.

'I felt a little bit aggrieved at the time because I didn't think there was anything in it. But having seen it again, I am really, really disappointed.

'Our players were getting a little bit nervous, being a bit rash and making poor decisions towards the end of the game but that is be expected. But not from the linesman and referee.

'I thought Djimi might have handled the ball but he is such an honest boy and said he didn't touch it with his hand. It is quite obvious.

'The players have had a lot of blows this season and now they have had to take another one. But the character they showed after conceding the first goal and putting in a full hearted performance, was commendable.'

Fulham boss Chris Coleman was delighted with a point and accepted they were lucky to win the controversial free-kick that led to the leveller.

Coleman declared: 'We deserved to get a goal even though the free-kick we got was a dubious one.

'But there were a few dubious decisions. It is fair to say there were half-a-dozen dubious ones. But the big fella upstairs was looking down on us in the last minute and gave us a free-kick maybe we should not have had.'