Charlton Athletic are in the midst of an injury crisis, and it’ll provide a stern test for the still inexperienced Lee Bowyer.
At 42-years-old Lee Bowyer remains one of the younger managers in the Championship and despite his achievements in his short time at Charlton, remains inexperienced at this level.
His season so far has been impressive. Charlton started the season on fire and were in the automatic promotion places after the first few games. But an injury to their star man Lyle Taylor saw their form dwindle and Charlton slowly fell further down the table.
They find themselves in 11th coming out of this international break, and resume their Championship campaign with the visit of Neil Harris’ Cardiff City this weekend.
It’s been reported today though that Bowyer won’t be able to fill his bench for the game on Saturday with up to ten first-team players out injured.
That’s been the story of the season so far for Bowyer and Charlton. There’s the sense that Charlton under Bowyer can beat anyone, but their injury list has just grown too long and now they face a very real threat of going on a bad run, and falling further down the table.
The Addicks have won just one of their last seven in the Championship, and have only won twice since Taylor was ruled out.
Taylor was rumoured to in-line to make his return against Cardiff this weekend and whilst Bowyer would’ve preferred to give him a few minutes at the end, he may be forced to throw him in from the off if he deems safe.
There’s no guarantee that Taylor will feature this weekend though, and after him, there’s all of Tomer Hemed, Sam Field, Jonny Williams, Lewis Page, George Lapslie, Ben Amos, Jake Forster-Caskey and Chuks Aneke ruled out at least for this weekend.
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It poses the biggest challenge in Bowyer’s short managerial career so far. He’s already achieved great things at Charlton and now in the Championship faces a completely different challenge.
Whilst his side has the players to succeed at this level, not enough of them are fit and the lack of depth in Bowyer’s squad has been their unpicking in recent weeks.
It’ll be an interesting one to see whether or not Bowyer can fill the bench on Saturday and if he can’t, how he deals with a shortened side. Addicks’ fans will keep the faith though, and Bowyer has the chance to yet again prove himself in management.