BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer fears he will struggle to name a senior starting 11 at Luton on Tuesday, as his side suffered further injury setbacks during the 2-2 draw with Cardiff.
The Addicks were already missing 10 bodies before the clash with the Bluebirds – with West Ham loanee Josh Cullen stretchered off during the second-half and Deji Oshilaja and Erhun Oztumer both struggling after the game as well.
Bowyer revealed that Beram Kayal has returned from international duty with a knock and that he doesn’t think Adam Matthews will be fresh enough to go again on Tuesday after featuring for 90 minutes against Neil Harris’ Cardiff City side.
Striker Lyle Taylor is also still a week or two away from a return to full fitness.
“We’re going into Tuesday’s game and I honestly don’t know how many people are going to be fit to start,” admitted Bowyer, after his side’s winless run stretched to five games.
“Senior players, I honestly don’t know. It ain’t looking good in the dressing room. Oztumer, he looks like he’s hurt. Josh is obviously hurt. Deji was cramping up. There’s three just off the top of my head.
“I’ll have to see how the others react tomorrow. Adam [Matthews], he hasn’t played many games. It’ll be impossible for him to go again Tuesday. It’s tough on the lads at the moment, we need some bodies back desperately.
“It’s going to be tough but it’s all about recovery now and getting the recovery right. Whoever turns out, they’re going to give 100 per cent. That’s all we can ask at a time like this when you’re running out of bodies. Today, we deserved to win the game but unfortunately, we haven’t.”
“It’s his ankle,” added Bowyer, when asked about Cullen’s diagnosis.
“We don’t know how serious yet, he’s in a boot. We’ll have to see in the next 24-48 hours. Hopefully he’s not out too long as he plays a massive part for us and once we lost him, you could tell the difference.”
Taylor has been absent since hurting his knee on international duty with Monserrat at the start of September. Bowyer had hoped he may have returned by now but he appears to have suffered a setback.
“He’s probably looking at a week to two weeks,” he revealed.
“I think [Tuesday] will be a bit too soon. We just can’t take the risk with him. I’d love to say yes and he’s going to be on the bench but it’s not looking that way.”
Kayal, on loan from Brighton, had featured for Israel during the latest round of international games, but has also returned hurt.
“It’s his groin,” said Bowyer.
“He picked up an injury while he’s there so he’s had to have an injection. Hopefully he won’t be out too long.”
PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS/PAUL EDWARDS
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.