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Popo prepared for action

Posted on: Thu 25 Aug 2011

Mark Ritson reports

Having been given his first professional contract at the end of last season, young striker Tosan Popo is hoping to have an impact on the first team in the near future.

The 18-year-old had a prolific goal tally at academy level and has been handed the number 26 shirt for the 2011/12 campaign.

He was involved with the first team during the pre-season friendlies, notably scoring in the 4-0 win at Bromley last month, and was included in the matchday squad for the first time for the midweek Carling Cup win against Reading.

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"It was my first time on the bench since pre-season so it was really good to be close to the first team," said Tosan, who was an unused substitute for the encounter for the Royals alongside fellow young pros Ben Davisson and Freddie Warren.

"At the same time it can be frustrating because you want to try and impress on the pitch, and get a good chance and take it.

"At the moment, I'm putting it in at training and it is hard being on the fringes because you're around the first team all the time and then sometimes you'll be at home at weekends.

"I was hoping to get on the pitch on Tuesday, just to get a bit of experience - obviously I'd never played at The Valley and there was a good atmosphere. But towards the end of the game there were two injuries so that didn't really help my chances."

In July, the five-foot-eight forward played up front with Jason Euell against Bromley, and said: "It was great to be around Jason because he's been in the game for a long time at the top level in the Premier League, so to have his experience alongside me was good.

"For my goal, the ball just came to me in the box. I got a bit lucky with the rebound and just had to poke it through the goalkeepers' legs."

The youngster admits he may not feature in Chris Powell's matchday squad just yet, but could go out on loan and hopes to have plenty of game-time wherever he ends up.

"I've still got to speak to the gaffer about where he sees me at the moment, but during pre-season I've been around the first team, which is good," revealed Tosan.

"As a player, I just want to be playing and getting minutes, so whether it's on loan or being with the first team, I'm not too sure yet."

Tosan Popo

The Essex-born frontman joined Charlton's academy aged 15 after spells at Chelsea and West Ham United, and began playing for the U18 side at an early age.

"I started off at Chelsea from U9 to U12 level, but I left because it was too far to travel and I had school," admitted Popo.

"I went to West Ham and was there for three years, but I spoke to Charlton at the end of U15 level and I've been here for the last three seasons.

"Towards the end of the U16s, I got a chance to play and get some minutes on the pitch with the U18s.

"It's gone really well and I'm pleased to have been given an opportunity to turn professional."

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