Charlton Athletic must be one of the biggest examples of achieving success under adversity in the Football League.
They’ve found themselves in the top six all season, with an outside chance of a top two finish still within their grasp. Lee Bowyer has done a magnificent job of putting together an organised and coherent side with limited resources.
Much of the side is left over from last season, with permanent signings few and far between. He’s used the loan market wisely and his one big summer acquisition, Lyle Taylor, has been excellent.
They’ve even managed to cope with losing the excellent Karlan Grant without a replacement. It’s a testament to the desire of the players and their never-ending commitment.
One player who will get to demonstrate that commitment is towering German Patrick Bauer. He’s been a key player for the Addicks, forming an impenetrable barrier with Naby Sarr and now captain Jason Pearce.
His contract is up at the end of the season and a player of his calibre will surely want to test himself as high as possible. There will be no shortage of takers, but he’s going to have a huge decision to make.
If the club do go up, would he want to stay put and help them push on? That’s going to be the call he has to make when the season does run it’s course. Charlton may have become a Championship side and that makes his decision much harder.
He clearly thrives on the atmosphere at the Valley and if they were an established Championship side with stable owners, he’d surely remain there for the foreseeable future.
He’s got to decide whether it’s worth the risk, or if he’s best served calling time on his Addicks career.
If they fail to go up though, the decision will have been made for him.