Charlton boss Bowyer: I need to know who is going to fight for us

Charlton manager Lee Bowyer has issued a rallying cry to his players as they try to stave off relegation.

The Addicks sit in the Championship drop zone with nine games to rescue their Championship status.

The Valley boss will speak to each of his squad this weekend to ask them if they are fully committed to the cause or fear for their family’s health should they be infected.

Bowyer expects some will say it is too great a risk.

And he will not force any squad members into situations they fear are unsafe.

But he wants those who show their commitment to the club to fight all the way from here on.

“We have got nine games to stay in this league,” he said. “We are in a great position to give ourselves a chance.

“Everyone before the start of the season would have had us done and dusted by this stage.

“We are still battling. There are a lot of teams around us and we have to finish at the top of that pile.

“We have been through a lot and there have been a lot of hurdles and this is just another one.

“We all have to fight together through this. We will come through it and we will be fine We have got through a lot of other things and surprised people – this is no different.”

The players are being tested for coronavirus today – that was due to happen on Thursday but the couriers could not get out the kits to the club’s Sparrows Lane training ground in time.

Bowyer said: “I am looking forward to seeing the players come back in tomorrow.

“I will ask them individually if they want to come back and play.

“I have to know who is available and who is going to fight for us – who wants to put their bodies on the line.

“It is a difficult situation to be in, and if people are not going to give their all, there’s no point in them being around.

“I will not force anyone – that’s the point of asking the question. Most will say yes – some will say they would rather not.

“The ones that don’t want to be involved I need to know now – because I need to know what sort of squad I’m going to have for this nine-game league.

“It will be good just to be outdoors and getting ready. We will have to adapt a lot of procedures but the most important thing is that we all do it together and work hard together to come through this difficult period.

“We can’t wait to get back on the grass where we are all comfortable and getting back into training.”

The pre-lockdown match schedule looks likely to be implemented – so the first game on June 20 would be against Hull City – who have asked for the season to be voided.

Every club has a protocol they must go through, players must do the tests themselves at home before training by taking a swab from the back of the throat and each nostril.

These are collected by the club and results come back within 24 to 48 hours.

If a player tests positive, they have to isolate at home for seven days.

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