Nigel Adkins wants his Charlton Athletic side to still believe they can reach the League One play-offs – despite Portsmouth being in the driving seat for the final spot.
The Addicks drew 1-1 at Accrington Stanley today while their promotion rivals won 3-1 at AFC Wimbledon.
Even if Charlton win their match in hand – at home to fourth-placed Lincoln City – they will still be a point behind Portsmouth going into the final round of fixtures next Sunday.
Charlton finish with a home game against champions Hull City while Pompey are also on their own patch as they face Accrington.
“Whilst you’ve got hope and belief it is something to cling on to,” said Addicks manager Adkins. “We need to learn the lessons from today and get ready for our next game on Tuesday, which will be a cracker against Lincoln at The Valley.
“Everyone who crosses that white line wants to win a game of football. It’s up to us to go and win a game of football.
“They [Lincoln] will present a load of different situations. But we have got threats and we’ve got to try and pose the opposition problems.
“We’ve demonstrated on our day we can play well against anybody.”
One thing that won’t be a factor against the Imps will be the quality of the pitch. The Valley is a carpet compared to Accrington’s surface at the Wham Stadium.
Chuks Aneke salvaged a point with a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time from Albie Morgan’s free-kick.
Adkins said: “We showed that resilience to keep going. It was a great ball by Albie and Chuks Aneke scores again, which is good.
“You give John Coleman and Accrington Stanley a lot of credit, this is a very difficult place to come to. We’ve watched several of their games. They are very direct and have more shots, crosses and corners – we were very big and played three at the back. You’ve got to defend your penalty area because the ball comes in from all areas of the pitch.
“This was the first game I could play Conor [Washington] from the start with Jayden.
“It was very stop-start, free-kicks all the time. I thought for their goal it was a foul on Pratley, but we could have stopped them going for the shot.
“We’ve got a point away from home – we needed three. But there are plenty of twists and turns, as we all know. It’s easy to say after the event ‘let’s play out from the back and all the way through’ then we could’ve got a good hiding, but maybe you wouldn’t have done. That’s the hindsight side of it.
“Ryan Inniss’ header goes past the post and on another day that can go in and change the complexion, [but it] didn’t happen. We knew it was going to be a horrible game and you’ve got to do all the crappy things that go with it. But you have got to do that.
“The players have gave everything. You can’t fault them for their effort or commitment. It was very competitive.”
PICTURES: KYLE ANDREWS
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.