Sky Sports pundit Andy Hinchcliffe believes Charlton Athletic’s attacking players will do enough to keep the side in the Championship.
The Addicks slipped into the relegation zone for the first time this season after last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough at The Valley.
Lee Bowyer’s side are now two points from safety with nine games remaining, and the fight for survival is becoming tighter. Just three points separate Stoke in 17th to the Addicks, who are in 22nd.
The Addicks have now lost four of their last five league games, and have not scored in their last three.
Hinchcliffe, who was speaking in the latest edition of the Sky Sports EFL podcast, thinks that Charlton’s attacking threat could help them escape the drop.
“I thought maybe they were going to be in the bottom eight or 10 of the championship, I didn’t expect them to be in a relegation battle, but I do feel they have some of the attacking players to get them out of this mess,” he said.
“Yes, there’s an over reliance on Lyle Taylor but that was always going to be the case this season.”
QUIZ: Can you identify these 15 Charlton players purely based on their date of birth and birthplace?
However, the EFL pundit also touched on Charlton’s recent inconsistencies, which could prove to cost the side valuable points.
“It is that inconsistency, they went to Forest and put in a brilliant performance, won 1-0 and you think well that’s the result that where you say okay, they’ll be able to grind out a few more points and be okay,” he added.
“But then those two results when you’re losing 4-0 to Huddersfield… Again, it’s a huge psychological blow.”
In spite of that, Hinchcliffe said that Charlton’s ability to grind out results could be the difference between themselves and their competitors.
“Look at their games for the last five weeks, they have actually won three games and if you compare that to the teams that are around them in battling against relegation, that ability to maybe grind out a win could be key.”
The Addicks are back in action on Saturday as they have another six-pointer against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium.
Hinchcliffe’s observations are interesting – the EFL pundit sees Charlton pulling off survival, but their recent form has been the second worst of any team in the bottom six.
It is worth noting that the Addicks have a tough run-in as well. They play both Brentford and Leeds away from home, with the latter being their last game of the season.
However, getting a result in their crucial clash against Wigan at home in their penultimate fixture of the campaign could be the difference between staying up and getting relegated.