Lee Bowyer has provided an fitness update on key midfielder Josh Cullen ahead of this Saturday’s game against Preston North End, hinting that the 23-year-old could be in contention to travel to Deepdale.
Cullen, who is currently on loan at Charlton from West Ham United, has been out for the last month-and-a-half with an ankle ligament injury that was suffered against Cardiff City in November, where he was stretchered off the pitch.
However, Lee Bowyer revealed in his Thursday morning pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Lancashire that Cullen is back training with the squad for the first time since the injury.
Speaking to the South London Press, Bowyer gave an update on the 23-year-old’s condition.
“It might be a bit too soon for this weekend,” he said.
However, past experiences with the midfielder meant that Bowyer did not count Cullen out of making the trip.
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“If you think when he did his shoulder he was out for longer than three months and I chucked him back in and he did 90 minutes. The kid’s a machine,” the Addicks boss said.
The 43-year-old added that it all depends on how Cullen comes through the training on Thursday and Friday.
“There is a good chance if he gets through the next couple of days that he’ll be travelling with us to Preston.”
The midfielder has made a total of 16 appearances for Charlton this season, scoring one goal.
Jonny Williams, Jake Forster-Caskey, Erhun Oztumer and Tomer Hemed are all also likely to make the bench for this Saturday’s game at Deepdale.
Cullen’s return is positive news for Lee Bowyer in the grand scheme of things, as key midfielders are coming back at a crucial time.
The important thing here though Bowyer cannot afford to rush Cullen back into action – even by joining up with the matchday squad, as the Addicks boss will be tempted to bring him on.
That lesson was learnt when Lyle Taylor picked up another muscle injury shortly after coming back from a long injury layoff.
If Cullen breaks down again, the chances are that he will be recalled by West Ham, so there is a lot on the line.