BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer is in the middle of the biggest injury crisis of his Charlton managerial career – and will not even be able to fill the subs bench for Saturday’s home game against Cardiff City.
The Addicks are without a host of first-teamers due to injury – Tomer Hemed, Sam Field, Jonny Williams, Lewis Page, George Lapslie, Ben Amos, Jake Forster-Caskey and Chuks Aneke.
There is no guarantee that Lyle Taylor, out since August with knee ligament damage, will be fit to play any part against the Bluebirds.
Darren Pratley is suspended after collecting five bookings.
“We’ve only got a 23 or 22-man squad and we’ve got 10 out,” said Bowyer. “That is nearly half. If it carries on then we won’t be able to put out a starting 11.
“The only position we are strong is at the back. There are not many to choose from in midfield – three. The ones available are Conor Gallagher, Josh Cullen and Erhun Oztumer.
“I think we’ll maybe have to look at playing a different way. We’ll go through a couple of things this morning – some shape work – to see what looks good for the players we have.
“It’s tricky, definitely tricky.”
Charlton recalled Albie Morgan from his loan at Ebbsfleet on Tuesday.
“We have no-one to be on the bench – we don’t have a midfielder on the bench if we play those three I mentioned. We’ve recalled Albie to be in and around it, just as back up really.
“Even with Albie back we won’t have enough for the bench.
“The kids we’re bringing on to the bench, some haven’t even played a game before. You can’t just bring a kid on when they aren’t even playing in U23 games. It’s not fair – no way are they ready. They’ve not even been at a League One or League Two club on loan – and you want them to go and play against Cardiff, who were playing in the Premier League last season?
“You tell them: ‘Go and play now – go and win us the game’. It’s not fair on them.
“We won’t be able to fill the bench, for sure. I’ll try to put my senior ones on the bench, but that’s where we’re at.”
Bowyer says the positive is that Charlton have still competed despite the injuries.
“Lyle was out when we went to Fulham and got a point. We went to West Brom and got a point. In both we probably should have won them. Preston are second and they were no better than us and we have got all these injuries.
“Millwall was the same, we were better than them on chances created. We’ve competed with every team, we just need a bit of luck. We’ll keep working and see where it takes us.”
PHOTO BY PAUL EDWARDS
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