Lee Bowyer is confident that Alex Gilbey will “come good” – and reckons his injury earlier in the season left his playing catch up on his Charlton team-mates.
The Addicks made the midfielder one of their first signings after relegation from the Championship – agreeing a deal with Milton Keynes for one of their standout performers.
The 26-year-old has made 10 League One appearances for Charlton, starting seven of their 22 matches.
Gilbey missed eight games with an Achilles problem.
“He had a good start to the season and in pre-season before he got injured,” said Charlton manager Bowyer. “Since coming back he has found it a little tough to catch up.
“You’ve got to remember the lads were playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday and their fitness just got away from him very quickly. In one week you can miss three matches and that is where you get the majority of your fitness from.
“Alex is naturally fit but it is game fitness and the tempo of it.
“He’s someone who is adapting to the way we play. He’ll come good, I have no doubt. He still has to improve on certain aspects – he’s not stupid.
“Him and Albie are the same. They need to start getting that picture in their head before they receive the ball. I’ve been speaking and working with them for a couple of days – doing a little bit of extras after training. I’ve done them against each other – to show them when they do it right it is impossible to defend against. They both saw it – they couldn’t get near the other.
“This is what they need to take into the game – to take it open, it’s difficult to explain, and play forward when you can. Hopefully Friday you’ll see the improvement in both of them.”
PICTURES: PAUL EDWARDS AND KEITH GILLARD
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