BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer said a lack of available right-backs forced his hand at Cardiff on Tuesday evening – weeks after Chris Solly decided to pull out of the squad.
A scarcity of options on the right-hand side of the defence meant the Addicks manager played a 3-5-2 formation during the goalless draw with the Bluebirds, with regular full-back Adam Matthews carrying a knock.
Solly had withdrawn from the side for the last nine games of the campaign, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.
“I had to play three at the back because I didn’t have a right-back,” admitted Bowyer.
“Deji [Oshilaja] couldn’t have started because he was still a bit tired from the weekend. Adam Matthews, I had to leave behind because he’s got a bit of a knock. I couldn’t play George [Lapslie] right-back because it wouldn’t have been fair playing against these wingers – they’re proper Premier League wingers and it would have been unfair to play George out of position at right-back against them.
“So, I had to think of a different way. That’s why I went for the three at the back. The formation that I played tonight was dictated on availability – I didn’t have another right-back so I had to change it.
“I had to [rotate],” added the Charlton chief, after he made a total of seven changes to the side that beat QPR over the weekend.
“A couple of them were struggling from the weekend. We only had a short space of time to get them match-fit. It would have really been silly of me to take any gambles because we’ve still got six after this game. Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, it’s crazy. I’m going to have to rotate because if not we will pick up a lot of injuries because the players just won’t be able to cope with that turnaround.
“[Tomer Hemed and Matthews] have both got little knocks. I have to look at the bigger picture. Did I want to leave them two at home? No. But I had no choice. I had to look at the bigger picture. We’ve still got six games to go. It’s important that we have as many bodies around as possible. The right thing to do was leave them two at home because they’ve both got knocks. Everyone who came in, the seven that started, they all did well. They understand there’s competition for places and they’re all going to be used at some stage. On Friday [against Millwall], things might change again. People that haven’t even started yet might start on Friday.”
West Brom loanee Sam Field was forced to withdraw with 35 minutes on the clock at the Cardiff City Stadium after suffering a head injury.
“He got a whack on the back of the head and he had to have stitches,” revealed Bowyer.
“The physio couldn’t stitch him up. Where the cut was, he said we can’t even bandage it to just get us to half-time. It made it difficult with the sub situation because you can only do them on three different occasions, but you can do one at half-time. We were hoping to get to half-time and then make a change so it doesn’t interfere with the three opportunities you have after that. But they said he couldn’t carry on because they couldn’t bandage him up.”
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