Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer confident of getting a reaction from Jonny Williams – and assesses his side’s start to League One campaign

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Lee Bowyer is confident he will get the right response from Jonny Williams after subbing him just 23 minutes after he came on in Charlton’s 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury Town last weekend.

The Addicks manager was unhappy that the Wales international, 27, did not attempt to make a couple of tackles at New Meadow.

Bowyer has a hardline approach with his squad and previously hooked Omar Bogle after 34 minutes in the 4-2 defeat against Burton Albion last month.

“Jonny knows how I feel – he knows that I love him,” said the Charlton chief. “He is a great lad and he wants to please you.

“He did well for our goal. He carried the ball and laid it off for [Chris] Gunter to cross it. It’s something we worked on in training on Friday.

“But there are two sides to the game – attacking and defending. You know that second part is not his strong point, but you still have to do it. Because if you don’t and switch off – which he did for the first chance – then it allowed the wing-back to run inside him too easily. It allows a dangerous diagonal ball and if that is controlled then the player scores.

“We got away with that one and then he didn’t try to make a tackle. I’m not saying to Jonny: ‘I want you to go and smash someone or put someone in the stand’. I’m just asking you to at least try and compete – everyone can compete. And he didn’t. Again they should’ve scored from it.

Charlton Athletic’s Jonny Williams (right) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game with his teammates during the Sky Bet League One match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth.

“So he did great for the goal but nearly cost us two goals. I’d have been disappointed if we didn’t take those two chances.

“It’s never, ever personal but these things often define whether you win or not.

“It’s done, nothing can change it. It’s forgotten. I don’t hold grudges. I just want to see a reaction from him and I’m sure I’ll get that.”

Bowyer has taken a similar tough approach in the past with Albie Morgan. The academy product is now gaining regular first-team minutes.

“My job is to push you and get the best out of you,” said the Charlton manager. “I will always do that. It is my job and the day I stop caring and say it doesn’t matter is the day I walk away from football.

“I want to improve players – Jonny is no different. I know the next time there is a 50-50 he might not win it, but I know he’ll try.

“You saw him doing it last season – slide-tackling and winning the ball back. He did it against Derby and we went and scored. People will say it isn’t Jonny’s strength but if he can do that in the Championship then he can do that in League One.”

Charlton’s form since the international break has been spotty. They had won six on the spin – not conceding in five of those – but have banked five points from a possible 15 since. The impressive job done at Ipswich Town at the end of last month was sandwiched by below-par performances in losses to Burton and Milton Keynes.

The SE7 outfit are sixth in the standings going into tomorrow’s derby against AFC Wimbledon.

Asked if the table showed a fair complexion of Charlton’s campaign, Bowyer replied: “If you look at the bigger picture – from the start to where we are now – I’d say we’re probably about right.

“But we went on that run and two games ago we could’ve been second. If we’d held on at the weekend then we would have been third. But the last three games have disappointed me.

“On Saturday it was done – it was won. We were quite comfortable apart from a couple of situations that we put ourselves into.

“So if we’d held on for that and now be sat third then I’d say we were probably over-achieving.”

Shrewsbury’s Oliver Norburn converted from the penalty spot in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time after Chris Gunter brought down Dave Edwards.

It came after Morgan’s attempted clearance looped into the Addicks penalty area.

“Albie will learn from that,” said Bowyer. “He didn’t mean it. He’s young – he was just trying to hit it as far away from the goal and didn’t catch it right.

“All we had to do was lift it into a corner or get it into a striker’s feet and the game is over.

“Their fella did well and just rolled us. It happens.

“But should we have been in that situation? How did it arise? How did we get in that situation? I always go back to that. Can we prevent it? Because prevention is better than cure. Players are human and they make mistakes. Will Albie do that again? No.

“We didn’t lose the game. It felt like we lost the game, but we didn’t. Shrewsbury is not an easy place to go. They made it difficult for us. That’s what happens at this level, even more so because teams look at us just coming down from the Championship.

“Wimbledon are going to be tough as well. They’ve got good players at the top end of the pitch. [Joe] Pigott scores goals and creates goals. I wasn’t here when he was at the club but what I see now I like. He holds the ball up well, brings people into play and is very good aerially in the box.”

Main Pic: Kyle Andrews


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