Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer has admitted that the club’s recent injury crisis will prevent him from being able to name a full substitutes’ bench for his side’s clash with Cardiff on the weekend.
The Addicks will be looking to end their four-game winless run when they welcome Neil Harris’ side to The Valley in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, but Bowyer is having to contend with a significant number of injuries within the Charlton squad.
The likes of Jonny Williams, Lyle Taylor and Sam Field are among those who have been missing from the Charlton side in recent matches, and Bowyer has now conceded that most of his injured players will not be ready in time for the Cardiff match.
Speaking to South London Press reporter Richard Cawley, Bowyer confirmed this hindrance will prevent him from naming seven players on the bench on Saturday, with the 42-year-old not willing to turn to younger players for the match.
Lee Bowyer saying that he will not be able to fill the bench for #cafc's game v Cardiff on Saturday. Doesn't think it is fair to put loads of untested kids on there.
— Richard Cawley (@RichCawleySLP) November 21, 2019
Bowyer has not been adverse to giving Charlton’s younger players a chance in previous matches under his management, but he has claimed it would be unfair for him to throw untested players into the match-day squad against the Bluebirds.
This is something of a surprising admission given that there would surely be no harm in Bowyer naming young talent on the bench, in order to give them valuable match-day experience even if the Charlton boss has no intention in playing them.
Therefore, Bowyer may view this as an opportunity to make it glaringly obvious to the club’s owners that he feels the squad is in need of further depth, even though he must concede that Charlton have simply been unlucky with injuries this term.
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It would be a significant statement for Bowyer to name a sparsely-populated bench ahead of the Cardiff match, and this would be a clear indication that further investment is required in January if Charlton are to remain competitive in the Championship.
The fact Bowyer has achieved such incredible success at Charlton since he was named as manager last year means he has earned the right to make a statement such as this, as the club will surely then consider accommodating his request to avoid the risk of losing his services as manager.
Bowyer will know the club need to retain his managerial services in order to keep progressing, and this is why he might feel comfortable taking the risk of not filling the substitutes’ bench ahead of the Cardiff match.
It would be a sorry sight to see an empt Charlton substitutes’ bench on Saturday, but there could be a good reason for this.