The eyes of the coaching staff follow his movements more often than not, fans make a judgement of him in the opening minutes of his first pre-season friendly and messageboards are filled with middle-aged IT consultants and teenage students arguing as to why he should or shouldn’t be signed up.
The pressures on a trialist are unenviable.
More often than not, the trialist, who you’ve almost certainly never heard of, will feature in a pre-season friendly, looking completely out of his depth, before disappearing from view.
He’ll return a couple of weeks later holding up the shirt of a club three divisions below you and a collective sigh of relief is produced.
However, once every so often a trialist does enough to earn himself a contract. That is the case with Richard Wood as Charlton look set to snap up the centre-back on a full-time basis.
The defender has been training with the Addicks for the duration of pre-season, playing in the friendlies against Welling United, a Gibraltar XI and St. Mirren, following the expiry of his contract with Coventry.
And Charlton manager Chris Powell has been impressed with what he’s seen.
Speaking to the South London Press, Powell stated he’s 'hoping to discuss with his agent a way forward' after being 'quietly happy with what he’s done over the past 10 days'.
Wood will provide competition to fellow centre-backs Michael Morrison, Dorian Dervite and Leon Cort for a starting role.
Powell has been experimenting with a bold 3-5-2 formation during Charlton’s training camp in Spain, so an extra presence in defence will give Powell more reassurance should he opt to deploy the tactic during the season.
The 28-year-old would become Charlton’s second signing of the summer after the capture of former loanee Mark Gower, also on a free transfer following his release from Swansea City.
With Powell stating previously he hopes to secure the services of at least five new faces in addition to Gower, and with a concerning shortage of attacking options, Wood won’t be the last addition to Charlton’s squad this summer.
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