BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ben Watson is set to trigger a clause in his Charlton Athletic contract to ensure he is again on their playing books next season.
The Camberwell-born midfielder signed a 10-month deal with the League One club in late September.
Watson, who turns 36 in July, needed to play a certain percentage of matches to activate a further year. He made his 23rd appearance of the campaign in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Northampton Town.
Watson has only been missing from Charlton’s matchday squad for six League One fixtures.
Asked about the former Crystal Palace player’s future, Addicks manager Lee Bowyer said: “I think he will be here next season. I’m sure that he’s played enough now to trigger that [clause]. Ben has been good for us.”
Charlton have 13 first-teamers who are inside the final four months of their contracts.
There is also an option in Marcus Maddison’s deal but the 27-year-old is finished at The Valley – failing to grasp the lifeline handed to him by Bowyer, pictured inset, after he left Hull City. Maddison was loaned to League Two Bolton Wanderers in January.
Jake Forster-Caskey is a doubt for tomorrow’s home game against Shrewsbury Town with a tight hamstring. Adam Matthews (hamstring) will miss out. But centre-back Ryan Inniss was due to resume full training yesterday, ahead of an U23 runout next week, along with Alex Gilbey (hamstring).
Conor Washington’s double saw Charlton end an eight-match winless spell at The Valley as they saw off the Cobblers.
The Addicks are eighth in the table and only a point behind Portsmouth. The issue is that the clubs above and below the South Londoners have at least one game in hand.
“We are in a decent place at the moment and we’ve still got to play a lot of the teams around us,” said Bowyer.
“It is in our hands. There is no team that we fear. We might need a little bit of luck here and there between now and the end of the season, but there are still 36 points to play for.”
Charlton have to face Sunderland, Lincoln City, Doncaster Rovers, Ipswich Town, Peterborough United, Accrington Stanley and go to Hull City on the final day.
“If we win them then things change,” said Bowyer.
“In the first half of the season we did well against teams in the top, taking Hull out of the equation. There is no reason we can’t do that again.”
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