BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer reckons the international break came at the right time for Charlton – despite the fact it put the brakes on after six straight wins in League One.
The Addicks are fourth in the table but have at least one game in hand of the clubs above them as they head to Gillingham tomorrow.
Charlton are joint top of a form guide for the last eight matches – matching leaders Peterborough in banking 19 points.
The Addicks have not played in the league since November 3, when they extended their unbeaten run in the competition to seven games.
“When you’ve got momentum you don’t really want to come off it but we had quite a few players starting to feel the intensity,” said Bowyer.
“The schedule was crazy and we were trying to freshen things up – but you’re still doing 70 minutes, then 30, then 70 again and then 30 as we went Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday.
“Our intensity is high and our pitch is very heavy as well. That makes an impact on players’ legs. We probably had three or four who if we’d carried on would have been on the brink of breaking down.
“They were given a few days off last week and it looks like they have benefited from it. Everyone is looking better.”
Summer signing Marcus Maddison was able to get more competitive minutes under his belt in the FA Cup and EFL Trophy – opening his goal account in the latter against Orient.
“We did a bit of running with him at the end of last week and when we were in on Saturday – just to top him up,” said Bowyer. “He looks a little bit sharper and better in possession. We’re moving in the right direction.
“When we first signed him it was difficult because I wanted him to do the things you know he can do – but his body wouldn’t allow him to do it because he was miles behind on his fitness. He never had a pre-season.
“He’s someone who is going to be at his best in the next three or four weeks.”
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