Lee Bowyer reckons that Charlton Athletic would be in one of the automatic promotion spots in League One if they had been able to hold on to Karlan Grant.
The Addicks sold the 21-year-old, born in Greenwich, to Huddersfield at the end of the January transfer window.
Grant’s brace in Saturday’s 4-3 defeat at West Ham United took his goal tally for the Terriers to three in five games.
It means he holds the distinction of being joint-top scorer in the league for both Charlton and Huddersfield.
Addicks owner Roland Duchatelet put the block on signing free agent Joe Mason after the window closed – with Bowyer seeing deadline day loan deals for Bristol City’s Mo Eisa and Bolton’s Erhun Oztumer collapse.
Josh Parker, signed on a deal until the end of the season from Gillingham, has yet to net for the SE7 outfit.
Charlton are fifth in the table – 11 points clear of seventh-placed Coventry – but Grant’s absence has been felt.
“I know we’d be top two if he was still here,” said Bowyer. “We were only a few points off second when he left. Since he has gone we have drawn a few games.
“If he’d played for us on Saturday [at Bristol Rovers] then we’d definitely have created more chances and he’d probably have taken one of them or set one up for Lyle [Taylor].
“He’s been a massive loss, you can’t deny that.
“The kid causes problems and scores goals. That’s what he does. He did that for us.
“Okay, he has gone up a couple of levels but if he does the right things – not getting marked in the box and making the correct runs – then he makes things happen.
“For his first goal on Saturday he is not marked by the defender. When we first had him in the summer he was stationary in the box and standing up against the centre-half – he won’t score like that, because he is not physical.
“His second goal was about individual ability. I’m really pleased for Karlan. He has gone there, worked hard and it is paying off.”
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