Charlton Athletic won’t have expected to be in the top ten of the Championship come October, but Lee Bowyer’s side have sprung up some surprises so far this season.
Charlton got off to a flying start in the Championship. Unbeaten in their opening six and winning four, Lee Bowyer’s side were in the top six up until the start of September.
Last month was a difficult one for the Addicks with two losses and a win through September. The absence of Lyle Taylor has been a contributing factor to Charlton’s downturn in form – the striker was ruled until November whilst on international duty with Montserrat at the start of last month.
With just one win in five, Bowyer will be gunning for Taylor’s return to see them through til the New Year.
But up until then, there’ll be plenty of players who’ll need to perform to keep their spot in his starting eleven, and here we take a look at three of them:
Jonathan Leko partnered Taylor up-front at the start of the season, but the 20-year-old hasn’t quite reached his level yet.
He’s netted twice in ten games this season, the last being a consolation against Swansea at the start of the month.
He’s still young but to keep his place in the team come the New Year he’ll have to better himself.
As well as Taylor’s prospective return next month, Macauley Bonne has also returned from injury and has scored two in his last three games, pushing Leko further down the pecking order.
Charlton signed Sam Field on-loan from West Brom in the summer, with the 21-year-old keen to get some first-team action in the Championship.
He’s not been heavily involved so far, making seven appearances and just three starts in the league for Charlton.
Field will have to work hard over the next couple of months to ensure he still gets game time under Bowyer – fellow-loanee Beram Kayal is due to return from injury this month, whilst Conor Gallagher – another loanee at Charlton, has asserted himself in the starting line-up at The Valley.
The midfield may have too much competition for Field, who could return to The Hawthorns should he fall down the ranks.
Adam Matthews signed for Charlton in the summer after being released by Sunderland.
The 27-year-old right-back has Championship experience in brief spells with Cardiff City and Bristol City but so far this season, has barely been a squad player at his new club.
He made his league debut for Charlton at the start of the month against Swansea, and made his second appearance in the club’s last game against Fulham.
Perhaps he wasn’t match fit during the earlier stages of the season, but Bowyer has finally given him his chance and he could well feature again against Derby this weekend.
Now that he’s built some momentum, Matthews could crack on and have an impressive end to 2019 to cement his place in Bowyer’s plans.