BY RICHARD CAWLEY
No striker would ever be unhappy at netting a treble. Alfie May has now won the League One Player of the Month award that many times after scooping the October accolade.
The 30-year-old scored seven of his 11 goals this season during that period, including a double in the 3-2 win at Wigan Athletic last week.
May twice won the award at Cheltenham and it was a twin success when he also collected the Goal Of The Month award in March for a jawdropping strike from the halfway line against Wycombe.
The summer signing hit eight goals in six matches to first win the trophy in February 2022, also while on the books of the Robins.
“I knew I was probably in and around it, in terms of having a chance of being nominated,” May told the South London Press. “It’s a good feeling to win it. It’s a personal award but you couldn’t do it without your team-mates.
“It’s another to add to the collection that can go in the living room. We’ve got two big bookcases and there are some sections that still need to be filled. Hopefully I can keep doing that with trophies.”
May is already halfway to the total he amassed at Cheltenham in the previous campaign – 22 – and with 31 league matches to go.
It was his prolific return for the Gloucestershire outfit that saw Charlton pay in the region of £250,000 for him in July.
“I’ve said it before that I was brought into this team to score goals and I’m loving it at the moment,” said May.
“I’ve scored a lot of goals from a different position this season, arriving late into the box. The other night against Wigan, Louie Watson was ahead of me and I was playing in a bit of a deeper role when I collected the ball and hit it with my left (to score his second goal).
“It’s a little bit different to what I was used to last season but I’m thriving at the minute.”
May seems to have greater impact when playing in a number 10 role behind the likes of Chuks Aneke or Miles Leaburn. He cites the 2-0 defeat to Bolton Wanderers, when he started up top, as an example of why leading the attack on his own can be trickier.
“They had Ricardo Santos at the back,” said May. “I’m not going to win any headers with me standing in the box . I like to say I’m five feet eight in the morning and five feet seven in the evening!
“I’m not the tallest. The likes of Chuks or Milesy, who can compete in the air, would rather be in the box ready.
“It’s nice for me to arrive late, try and be unmarked and get a tap in. I watched some clips back of myself at the start of the season and I wasn’t in the middle of the goal – I was either pulling out to the back, waiting for it to land there, or trying to maybe get across the front post and I was outside of the goal.
“The best strikers in the world stand in the middle of the goal. You can score absolutel worldies but I’d rather just tap them in.”
You have to go back to the 2011-12 season for the last time a Charlton player had more goals at this stage – Bradley Wright-Phillips was on 12.
“I met my agent on Monday and he was like: ‘At this rate you can get 20 before Christmas’,” said May.
“I told him that if I can get 20 by then that I want 40 by the end of the season. I just want to keep going.
“I set myself personal targets and at the moment I’m a bit ahead of where I should be, which is a good thing. The most important thing is to keep chipping away at goals and picking up points for the club – we’re nowhere near where we want to be. We want to be at the top end of the table, so it is important we keep going.”
One club that is certainly in a sweet spot in the standings is tomorrow’s opponents Portsmouth.
Not only are John Mousinho’s side top of the League One standings and have won seven of their last eight matches in that competition, they are actually 26 matches undefeated when points are at stake, last losing on March 11.
But Charlton have won their last seven visits to Fratton Park, a sequence stretching back to 2005, and did the double over the South Coast club in the 2022-23 campaign.
“They are really high in the table and their togetherness is probably really strong,” said May.
“They are on a great run and they are a good team. They are a big club at this level, everyone knows where they have been. But we will go there wanting to be that team that beat them.
“You go into it as sort of a cup final and maybe create a little bit of history. It’s important in football that you create history as a player, a team and as a club.
“They are on that unbeaten run – let’s be that team to get one over them and take three points off them. So we can look at the table and where it says zero at the minute for where they have lost, let’s be that number one.
“It’s a beautiful stadium and their crowd come in numbers. I’ve played there a few times now. I don’t think I’ve scored there – I don’t even know if I’ve won there. I said the same about Lincoln, that I hadn’t scored there, and then in the first 10 minutes I got a goal – unfortunately we didn’t come away with three points.”
Charlton have a fixture slotted into their schedule next Wednesday as they replay Cray Valley PM in the FA Cup first round.
May turned out for a host of non-league clubs before breaking into the professional game in 2017 at Doncaster. He has played at the Millers’ home plenty of times.
“The good thing is we’re in the cup still – that’s a positive,” said May.
“I know the feeling of what Cray have gone through. On Sunday it didn’t matter what injury or tight muscle they had. It doesn’t go through your mind. You are the fittest, freshest person you’ve ever experienced – it’s the best feeling for them as a group. They created history, being in the first round and coming to a massive club.
“I knew it would be a tough game. I know a couple of their board members really well and I spoke to them before the game. They were showing me pictures of when I played against them for Erith & Belvedere.
“You’ve got to give credit to them. They kept themselves in the game and they were sort of playing for the draw to get us back to their ground. They did well.”
AWARD PICTURES: SKYBET/JUAN GASPARANI
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