Who is Tom Lockyer?

The third of Charlton's "new" signings (we are not counting Ben Purrington) is Tom Lockyer who joins on a two year deal after the expiry of his contract with Bristol Rovers.

He is an extreme rarity in modern football in that, at the age of 24, he has 285 first team appearances but has only appeared for one club. (He will be joining up with another of that ilk in Chris Solly who has turned out 298 times but only for Charlton). Tom was born in Cardiff and was in the Cardiff City Academy from age eleven but was released as a sixteen year old because he was deemed too small to play in his preferred position of centre back (he is now five foot eleven inches).

He signed a scholarship with League Two Bristol Rovers in 2011 and made his debut in January 2013 as a nineteen year old. He became a professional in May 2013 and became a first team regular without being loaned to any other clubs. He hardly missed a game in the following six seasons - averaging 47 appearances a year - which would seem to suggest a good injury record.

He was part of the Rovers squad which was relegated to The Conference in 2014 but he played a central part in the club's immediate return and subsequent promotion to League One in 2016. He has played 140 games at League One level in the last three years. He has one cap for Wales , having come on as a second half substitute against Panama in November 2017.

Lee Bowyer comments that: "He’s a very good player, he’s a winner, he puts his body on the line. He defends properly like the way a defender should and he can play - I think that’s a big part of what we need to do next season, we need to play from the back and Tom’s an international with Wales so we’ve got a good signing in him. He was one of the few defenders that kept Lyle (Taylor) quiet last season."

Charlton's head of recruitment Steve Gallen said: "He is definitely a leader, that is what springs to my mind and I’ve seen him at Bristol Rovers with the armband the last couple of years and he plays like that, he plays like a captain. He’s a winner, he’s got a great attitude. He’s a good football player, he’s mobile and someone I’ve been following really for the last couple of years and we’ve worked hard on it over the summer."

There will no doubt be further new signings to come but it is noteworthy that, so far, our new arrivals can boast only 10 appearances at Championship level - all from Ben Purrington in a relegated Rotherham side. Bowyer is under no illusions about how tough it will be but he is optimistic:

"We’re not going to win as many games as we did last season, I’m a realist but it’s going to be good. We’re going to surprise teams and I want the fans to be part of this again because you never know what can happen in football. Crazy things can happen in football, I’m looking forward to it and I want them to be part of it. I’d love them to keep filling that Valley up.”