BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Nigel Adkins says his play-off chasing Charlton side will remain focused on the task in hand against Hull City at The Valley on the final day – but admits he will have one eye on scores elsewhere.
Charlton go into tomorrow’s showdown at The Valley outside the top six and knowing that even a win might not be enough to secure a play-off place as a victory for Portsmouth at home to Accrington or former Charlton manager Karl Robinson’s Oxford United against Burton at the Kassam Stadium will rule out any realistic hopes of leapfrogging the Addicks’ two rivals.
However, a Charlton win coupled with Pompey and the U’s both drawing or losing their respective games would see the South Londoners nick the final play-off spot against the odds.
There’s also an unlikely scenario where a point may even be good enough for Charlton – if Oxford lose by any score and Portsmouth suffer a defeat with a two-goal deficit or more than a draw with the Tigers would realistically see the Addicks in the top six on goal difference, or goals scored if that is tied, over their south coast play-off rivals.
Adkins will be kept up to date with events elsewhere but says his message to the Addicks squad is a simple one.
The Charlton boss explained: “I’ve told the players this morning in the meeting that we’re going to win the game. All the focus is on winning a game of football. And then, maybe in the last ten minutes if we need to score some extra goals then we’ll talk about that.
“It’s a tough game tomorrow. We’re playing the champions. We can’t affect the other games. We’ve got to get three points. From our point of view, we’re going out to win a game of football.
“Yes, we will have bang on, up to date information about how the other two teams are getting on.
“When we were at Reading, final game of the season we played Burnley, who were champions. We drew the game 2-2. In the 90thminute, we’re in the play-offs. The other team that could have got in there were Brighton. Brighton were playing Nottingham Forest. As the final whistle has gone in our game, we’re in the play-offs. Brighton cross the ball and the Nottingham Forest centre-half ducked and Brighton scored and got in the play-offs.
“I’ve been there before where it’s do you stick, twist or keep going? Ultimately you just find a way to go and win a game of football. But we will be aware of what’s going on with the other games. Because you can be thinking we’ll just defend, just defend, but them something happens at another game and you become a bit too blasé or whatever.
“Likewise, you could go gung-ho when you don’t need to go gung-ho because you can go to the last minute and the result goes a different way. We’re going to do everything we can to win a game of football. In the last ten minutes we’ll see where we are from the score line point of view from the others. It’s no good us thinking about the other teams and not winning our game. We’ve got to win our game of football. Focus on going to win a game of football.”
PHOTOS: PAUL EDWARDS/ KEITH GILLARD
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