Charlton Athletic now turn to their next league game against Middlesbrough, as the Addicks make the trip to the Riverside Stadium knowing that a win could kick-start their season, and for more than one reason.
Lee Bowyer’s side come into the game on the back of a poor run of form – six games without a win. That is the worst sequence of results for the Charlton manager since he has been at the club.
Since showing automatic promotion form at the season’s infancy, it has been a dramatic fall from grace since then for Charlton. They now sit in 17th place in the table, and such a thought was inconceivable a few months ago.
The Championship is an unforgiving league, and once a team is in the midst of a rut, it is very hard to break free of because the games come thick and fast.
Charlton will not take confidence from the last time they met a relegation threatened side in the league, as they went down 2-1 to Luton Town last Tuesday at Kenilworth Road.
They come up against another side battling the drop in Middlesbrough this Saturday, who sit in 20th place, with 17 points from 19 games.
Although a win for Charlton could work wonders for the confidence of the side going into the festive fixture schedule, the upcoming match on Teeside against Jonathan Woodgate’s Boro is also important for the Addicks for another reason.
It is likely that Lyle Taylor and Chuks Aneke will take their place on the bench for the trip to the North East, and the confidence boost of that proposition cannot go unnoticed.
Taylor has been missing since late August for Charlton, after suffering a knee injury on international duty for Montserrat.
Macauley Bonne has done a stellar job in filling in for the 29-year-old, scoring six times.
In spite of that, there has no doubt been a sense of ‘what could have been’ amongst Charlton fans, as both men could’ve led the line for the SE7 side in different circumstances.
The good news is that could soon be a possibility. Charlton have missed Taylor dearly, and if he takes his place on the bench, Bowyer and the fans will be relieved that their talisman is back.
Having Aneke and Taylor able to participate once again will feel like a weight lifted off of Lee Bowyer’s shoulders, as the side’s recent injury crisis saw 13 first-team players ruled out for last Saturday’s Championship game against Sheffield Wednesday.
It should also be remembered that Jonny Williams should be back for the game against Hull City on December 13th.
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Five substitutes out of a possible seven named, and youngsters Alfie Doughty and Albie Morgan started for Charlton at the Valley having been recalled from their loan spells in the National League. That laid bare for all the scale of the problem at the club.
Nevertheless, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel as key players are beginning to return.
A good result on Saturday has the potential to lift spirits in a way that could see Charlton make up for lost time and climb back up the table.