Following a 3-2 defeat at home against Northampton Town over two weeks ago, Michael Appleton was relieved from his duties at The Valley after four and a half months with the club. The Addicks had been on a 12-game winless run up until that point, although this has since extended to 14 matches under caretaker boss Curtis Fleming.
Ex-Southampton and Luton Town manager Jones was confirmed as Appleton’s permanent successor this past week. The Welshman has been out of work since being dismissed by the Saints almost a year ago, having become the club’s shortest-serving boss in history.
Nevertheless, a fresh start with Charlton offers Jones the chance to prove doubters wrong as he takes charge of his first match on Saturday afternoon away at fellow relegation-threatened side Reading in what looks like a relegation six-pointer.
Heading into the fixture this weekend, Jones has been handed some positive news as the club have appointed 70-year-old Hart as his new assistant manager. The experienced coach has worked with Jones at Luton and Stoke City and will now sit alongside him in the dugout once more.
Nathan Jones has added to his coaching staff with the arrival of Paul Hart as Assistant Manager 🤝
Welcome back, Paul! 🙌#cafc
— Charlton Athletic FC (@CAFCofficial) February 9, 2024
Speaking to Charlton’s media team at the unveiling of his arrival, Hart said:
“It’s very good to be back. I’ve still got lots of old friends here and some very happy memories. I’m very much looking forward to the role.
“I’ve done it before with Nathan and we’ve known each other a good while now from the Charlton days. We’re looking forward to helping Charlton achieve what they want to achieve. Nathan’s a very good coach and ultimately we try and make the individuals and the team better.”
The new Charlton Athletic boss also spoke very kindly of his number ‘2’, describing him as a “real coup for the club”.
“We’re delighted to welcome Paul back to Charlton and it’s a real coup for the club. He’s someone that I’ve obviously known for a long time, someone who I trust, someone who knows the club and someone with masses of experience. It’s important to get as many people that know how we play around us.”
This is an excellent appointment for Charlton Athletic. Hart has a lot of skin in the game and has managed at some big clubs like Swindon Town, Portsmouth and Queens Park Rangers but also has experience working for long spells with Jones.
The Welshman has now surrounded himself with people he has already worked alongside which will make a difficult job a tad bit easier, while the players will certainly have respect for someone like Hart who acted as the U21s Lead Coach at the club over a decade ago.