Charlton AthleticSport

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer praises impact of Krystian Bielik in Barnsley win – and updates on injuries to the Polish defender and Igor Vetokele

The return of Krystian Bielik  made a huge difference to the Charlton back-line, admitted Addicks boss Lee Bowyer.

The Arsenal-loanee was able to play for the first time since the win at Southend in early September during the 2-0 win over Barnsley – and excelled at centre-half, partnering Jason Pearce.

Charlton skipper Pearce was able to return to the left-sided centre-back role, one he is much more at home in, having had to fill in on the right-side of the centre-halves due to injuries recently.

“It balances us off,” admitted Bowyer.

“It probably doesn’t look like much but it does. Pearcey was way out of his comfort zone playing on that side. I think you saw him today, he was a completely different player today. Krystian raised the game so well for someone so young. He doesn’t panic. He makes me panic at times because he dribbles past people and I’m thinking “don’t do that!” but he does it and that’s the confidence of the lad.

“He got cramp at the end. We’ve got to be careful with him. That’s what he did first time he started playing for us – got cramp, cramp, cramp and then he pulled his calf. We’re going to have to watch him. I don’t know if he’ll be able to play Tuesday. I thought he was outstanding. The whole back-four. Outstanding.”

Striker Igor Vetokele was absent from the matchday squad after picking up a knock in training.

“I don’t think he’ll be ready for Tuesday” revealed Bowyer.

“He was playing in little matches yesterday in training. He walked in, he’s pulled his groin a little bit. The physio is saying he won’t be available for Tuesday (vs Oxford at The Valley) either. Maybe Saturday but not Tuesday.”

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