Lee Bowyer on return of Charlton Athletic striker Igor Vetokele – and boost of club captain being fit for pre-season training



Igor Vetokele is heading back to Charlton Athletic – but manager Lee Bowyer is not sure if the Angolan international is prepared to play in League One.

The 26-year-old has been loaned out to Zulte Waregem and Sint-Truiden in the past two seasons but still has 12 months to run on his Addicks contract.

Vetokele was an instant hit when he signed for Charlton from FC Copenhagen in July 2014 in a £1million-plus deal. He scored eight goals in the Championship by early November and still finished with a respectable 11 in 41 appearances.

The following campaign was badly disrupted by calf problems before he was loaned to Zulte Waregem in the Belgian First Division.

Vetokele scored five goals in 27 games for Sint-Truiden last season.

Charlton caretaker manager Bowyer said: “To be honest, I’ve never met the lad. I didn’t even know he was one of our players last season.

“I need to meet him first and see what his intentions are – whether he wants to play at the club. It’s in League One now and that might not suit him.

“He might not want to play in League One. He wasn’t there last season, why wasn’t he there last season? We are back in training on Wednesday and I’ll see how he is fitness-wise – he was playing in Belgium and their league is completely different to ours. I need to look at him physically.

“It is whether he suits us and we’ll get an idea when he trains. But the big question is whether he wants to stay or wants to go on loan again.”

Charlton Athletic’s Chris Solly (left) and AFC Wimbledon’s Andy Barcham

Club captain Chris Solly, who underwent knee surgery at the end of last season, is due to fully take part in pre-season.

Billy Clarke, who suffered anterior knee cruciate ligament damage in December, will be integrated more slowly.

“Sols is fine,” said Bowyer. “He has been running, I know that. Billy has also been running but is a little further back, because his injury was so bad.

“I know Billy is doing straight-line running and will join in at certain times.

“Tariqe [Fosu] is back running, I spoke to him on Sunday night. He is fine after his hamstring problems at the end of last season.”

As our paper went to press, Charlton were close to deals for two players.

Bowyer said: It’s the main two I am looking to complete. They have been a big push for the last week or so.

“We’re definitely close. There is another club interested in one of them. I’m trying to pull any small strings. I’m trying the mate thing and everything with the agent because I used to play with him and he is friend!

“It will be the player’s decision. We can’t control that. We can only offer what we can offer and the other team will offer what they can offer.

“By the end of today [Monday] we should know if he is coming to us or going to them.”

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