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​LOAN WATCH: West Ham youngster Cullen bags first Charlton goal

In a routine 2-0 win away at Gillingham that helped Charlton maintain strong form heading into the play-offs, West Ham loanee Josh Cullen got his name on the scoresheet in what has been a good run of form for both the midfielder and the club.

The 23 year-old has had an impressive season with the addicks, appearing 28 times in the league despite missing 11 games with a dislocated shoulder.

Since joining the club on loan at the end of August, he has been a mainstay in central or defensive midfield, and has been an important component in the club's push for promotion.

His contributions have been so impressive that Cullen received his first national team call-up for Ireland's Euro2020 qualifiers in March.

On Saturday afternoon at Priestfield Stadium, Cullen lined up in defensive midfield and with the scores at 1-0 he made his imprint.

In the 42nd minute, Cullen picked up the ball and while holding off an opponent drove towards the penalty area. He then flicked the ball out-wide to Jonathan Williams, who after a couple of step overs, cut-in and shot at goal. The ball was parried away clumsily by the keeper and fell straight into Cullen's lap, who had continued his run and simply placed the ball into the back of the net.

For the Addicks it was a second straight win, making it 9 wins in their last 11 games. As

for the number 24 it was his first goal for the season, to go alongside his five assists.

Despite being at West Ham since he was a boy, Cullen is yet to fully establish himself at the hammers. So far he has only played a total of 7 premier league minutes and has made only a couple of appearances in cup competitions. With previous loan spells at Bradford and Bolton, Cullen will be hoping his successful season with Charlton finally see him get to chance to make it in the premier league.

Speaking to London NewsOnline this week, Cullen revealed that the Hammers are looking to bring him back in the summer and give him another opportunity at the London stadium. He commented: "I'll go back. They want me back to go and do pre-season and try and make my time there successful".

When asked on his aspirations on return, Cullen stated: "Get in the first-team and warrant that place. That's what I'm looking to do and hopefully that will happen".

Despite competition from captain Mark Noble and promising young talent Declan Rice, Cullen who has always been rated highly by his parent club will press his claim come the genesis of next season.

However his focus will be firmly with Lee Bowyer's side as they mount a charge to the championship through the play-offs, with their first opponent to be either Sunderland or Portsmouth. The Valley will look to the assuredness and quality of Cullen in midfield to see them clinch the ultimate glory.

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Eli Rubenstein Sturgess

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