Charlton AthleticSport

Lee Bowyer explains why Darren Pratley has continued to start in Charlton’s defence ahead of centre-half Deji Oshilaja


Lee Bowyer says he’s seen no reason to move midfielder Darren Pratley out of the role he’s been playing in the Charlton defence – despite having natural centre-back Deji Oshilaja waiting in the wings.

Experienced engine-roomer Pratley, 35, has been filling in at centre-half since Ryan Inniss and Norwich loanee Akin Famewo were lost to long-term injuries.

Oshilaja was also absent over the last few weeks, firstly through a foot problem and then a period of social isolation, but has been on the bench for the last three games.

Pratley on the ball during Charlton’s 2-2 draw with Plymouth on Boxing Day. Kyle Andrews

When asked why Oshilaja hasn’t returned to the side yet, Bowyer said: “Darren has been excellent for us playing there. Last weekend [at Swindon], he was probably one of our top two players.

“You can’t then change it if he was one of your best players. He’s played there a few times now, it’s not like the first time. Last season he played there a few times as well as a third centre-half.

“His experience gets him through it, he’s a lot more comfortable on the ball as he steps in now. I think Darren is doing a good job for us there filling in.”

“[Inniss and Famewo] are still seven to eight weeks away, the pair of them. We have to get through it and adapt and that’s what we’re doing. We have to give the players credit for that. They’re adapting all the time. Some come in, some go out. That’s the game.”


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