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Cray Valley boss expecting stronger Charlton Athletic starting line-up for FA Cup first round replay

Cray Valley Paper Mills manager Steve McKimm is expecting his Charlton Athletic counterpart Michael Appleton to name a stronger line-up for next week’s FA Cup replay.

The Isthmian League South East Division outfit – 117 league places below the Addicks going into the tie – drew 1-1 at The Valley on Sunday.

Addicks head coach Michael Appleton completely changed his starting 11 for the first round match from the team which had won 3-2 at Wigan Athletic.

The replay is next Wednesday and will once again be televised by the BBC.

“It will help us being at home – but I don’t think Michael is going to do what he did on Sunday,” McKimm told the South London Press.

“I don’t think he was being disrespectful. It was just what he chose and, like he said, they should’ve been more than capable of beating us.

“With Alfie May, Louie Watson and Miles Leaburn coming on (in the second half) I’d expect some of them to be in the starting 11, because when they did come on then you could see the difference. That is why they are playing League One regularly.

“I thought they would maybe make three, four or five changes – maximum – not a full 11. But they all had bags of experience and games behind them. It’s not as if we were playing their U18s – one was on loan from Manchester City and another was on loan from Wolves.

Charlton Athletic v Cray Valley PM Emirates FA Cup 1st Round, The Valley, 05 November 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

“We got the teamsheet and then you prepare. Mainly it is working out who is going to be marking at set-pieces. The homework we did before, none of them were involved from the stuff we had seen.

“It is quite difficult when it is a whole new 11 but you’ve just got to get on with it.”

Lucas Ness’ second-half own goal cancelled out Scott Fraser’s opener.

McKimm and his players celebrated with the 1,998 away fans before heading back to Eltham club’s base to celebrate with family and friends.

“There was no pressure,” said McKimm. “I wasn’t anxious or nervous. We wanted to play the game and enjoy the occasion.

“The main thing was to give the fans something to cheer about – even if we got beaten 3-1 or 4-1. We managed to do even better than that. We played 100 minutes-plus and gave them a day to remember.

“I knew the boys had loads of character and their fitness was unreal. We don’t do a lot of fitness work in our training sessions, it’s all with the ball, but during pre-season I worked them really hard – that is their base and grounding for the season.

“They embraced it and are getting their rewards now.”

Charlton Athletic v Cray Valley PM Emirates FA Cup 1st Round, The Valley, 05 November 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

McKimm has also allayed fears that Kyrell Lisbie, the son of former Charlton forward Kevin, could miss the return.

It was Lisbie’s cross which Ness put into his own net. But the young attacker was visibly upset as he had to be replaced in the second half.

McKimm said: “He was fine. It was more just the emotions of playing, he wanted to be out there as long as possible, rather than physical.

“Kyrell ran off their back of the full-back and put it into an area which is going to cause defenders to defend. That is what we had told the boys to do.”


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