Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer admits his side are outstripping his expectations at this stage of the season after sixth straight win

BY LOUIS MENDEZ

Charlton’s sixth win in succession has seen the South Londoners climb up to third in the League One table – and boss Lee Bowyer admits that even he is surprised with how quickly his newly-assembled squad have hit the ground running.

Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Fleetwood left the Addicks on the same points as second-placed Ipswich Town and just three shy of leaders Peterborough United with a game in hand.

Bowyer’s side raced into a two-goal lead at The Valley thanks to Ben Purrington’s early header and Conor Washington’s quick reaction following a spilled Omar Bogle effort.

The Cod Army then shocked their hosts, who hadn’t conceded a goal in six games, as Ched Evans scored twice in just over a minute to haul Joey Barton’s side level before the break.

Conor Washington strokes the penalty home to grab his second goal of the game. Kyle Andrews

But a Washington spot-kick early in the second-half extended Charlton’s winning run – an impressive feat considering Bowyer had to scramble together a competitive team in short order following Thomas Sandgaard’s takeover of the club and the lifting of its transfer embargo just a matter of weeks before the window closed.

The Charlton boss admitted: “We’re way ahead of where I thought we would be. It’s a long way to go. But we’re doing better than I expected so quickly. To gel a group together, it takes a bit of time. If you remember two years ago when we got promoted, it was really the back end of the season that we really got going.

The Charlton squad celebrate after Ben Purrington’s early goal against Fleetwood. Kyle Andrews

“It not easy to bring in 12 new players and get them to gel as quickly as we have. Most games we’ve had nine or 10 players that didn’t even play for us last year starting. It takes time. What we have done is we’ve recruited people that are winners. That makes a difference. They will keep pushing and hopefully we will keep pickup up three points.

“It was a very good game to watch. Two teams trying to play the game in the right way. Moved the ball well. Overall, I thought we deserved to win. Once we were 2-0 up, I don’t think Ben [Amos] touched the ball. We were 2-0 up and cruising. They’ve got some good players who can hurt you. Evans up top, from nowhere he just went bang, bang. Two goals from nowhere. I didn’t see that coming at all. But he most important thing is we regrouped at half-time and got the win.

“We defended a lot better. Sometimes that happens in football, we didn’t do much wrong. Sometimes you have to appreciate the touch and finish from who you are playing against and Evans is very good at that. But it should have been stopped, it shouldn’t have happened.”

PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS


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