BY RICHARD CAWLEY
The games are coming thick and fast for Charlton Athletic – but you won’t find Ben Amos complaining.
The Addicks goalkeeper, 30, has played every minute in League One this season and has been arguably their standout performer.
Amos only managed 90 minutes of football in the whole of the 2019-20 campaign – an EFL Cup loss to Forest Green Rovers – as he backed up Dillon Phillips.
The former Manchester United, Cardiff and Bolton stopper also had surgery on his right ring finger which ruled him out for three months.
Amos actually had the problem the season before, when he was on Millwall’s books.
“It was an issue which was kind of my undoing trying to play on before I injured it,” he said.
“I tried to declare myself fit – I wasn’t aware how bad the issue was. I had six weeks out after the scan, this was at Millwall, and I must have had an impact incident at Charlton which made it 10 times worse again.
“Essentially there were no tendons there. I had to get two screws put in my finger and that was three-and-half months out – obviously not ideal.”
Phillips won the Addicks’ Player of the Year award despite their relegation from the Championship.
But the fact he would not sign a contract extension saw the academy product frozen out and Amos – who had extended his stay by a further 12 months – was installed as the new number one.
“The climate out there, the market with all the Covid stuff going on was crazy,” said Amos when asked about assessing his options in the summer.
“You could tell quite early on that there were a lot of players who were out of contract and really struggling. I had a conversation with everyone at the club – they wanted me to stay and to play. There was the ongoing situation with Dillon at the time. It was about backing myself getting in the side.”
Amos won Player of the Month for October – going more than nine hours without conceding as he kept six consecutive clean sheets.
“That is the most I’ve had in a row in my career,” he said. “There was just a feeling amongst everyone that no-one was going to score. We weren’t playing particularly well at the time, in the games around that period, but collectively we were just grinding out wins.
“I feel like I’ve got that consistency and rhythm that you normally get after five or six games. I’m in a good flow. I’m trying to do my best every game.”
Amos has kept 23 shutouts in 69 matches for the Addicks.
“What’s that – one in three-ish?” he said. “That’s a good benchmark. I still think we could’ve had a lot more, particularly recently. We can get a hell of a lot if we get on a good run this year, so fingers crossed.”
Amos also had a loan move to SE7 in the 2017-18 season when Lee Bowyer’s side saw their hopes of reaching the Championship ended by play-off semi-final defeat to Shrewsbury Town.
This could be a first promotion for Amos, whose only piece of silverware is the League Cup in 2009 when he was on United’s books.
“With the squad we’ve got and strength in depth, we all know we’ve got the ability in the team to do it,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say there is a feeling of pressure, it’s just what we expect of ourselves and the standards we set.
“We’ve blown a bit hot and cold at times after that consistent streak where we won six on the bounce. Hopefully we’ll go on another run now.”
Amos triggered an extension option in his Charlton contract but is due to be a free agent at the end of June.
The former England U21 international reckons there have been zero thoughts over what the future holds in store.
“Since I signed I haven’t paid it a second thought,” said Amos. “For me it is literally day by day and game by game that I’m concentrating on. I’m confident with that approach things will sort themselves out one way or another.
“Obviously I really hope that is with Charlton.”
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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