Charlton manager Nigel Adkins reckons that tomorrow’s opponents Crewe are a dangerous proposition – even though they only have their pride at stake in South London.
The Addicks, who have four matches remaining to cement a League One play-off position, saw their 10-game unbeaten run ended by Peterborough at the weekend.
A win in SE7 on Tuesday night would definitely take Charlton back into the top six and move them a point ahead of Oxford United, who have played two fixtures more.
Crewe are 15th in the standings. Asked if it is an advantage to face a side who are free of relegation worries and unable to break into the promotion picture, Adkins told the South London Press: “It makes it an even more challenging game. I’ll tell you why – because they can be carefree. We have done the analysis now of the last seven games and they have changed their formation. They have got three or four formations they can potentially play – to start the game or change the game. They have got some really good threats in their team.
“They will play with a confidence. I use the word carefree in the proper way, in the sense they are not going to go up or go down. They can go and express themselves.
“We’ve got to be on our game. And because of where Crewe are in the league table and where we are, and also because we’re at home, we have to avoid the expectation that all we have to do is just turn up and that we should win the game. We know it’s going to be challenging. The preparation will be right because we know we have got to give the opposition all the respect they deserve. But likewise we want to impose ourselves on them and do what we want to do.”
Adkins has had the chance for further reflection on the loss to the Posh.
Jayden Stockley was unable to convert a first-half penalty which would have cancelled out Jonson Clarke-Harris’ early strike. And Charlton had plenty of possession and built up pressure in the second period but were unable to find a leveller.
“We played very well,” said Adkins. “We had a debrief this morning and showed loads of different things. You could suggest we actually played better than we did against Plymouth, but we beat Plymouth 6-0. We didn’t capitalise on the chances we created. We did have a lot of the ball.
“We played a team who will get promoted and were very good in our defensive shape, we minimised them to very few opportunities.
“We had a lot of possession of the football, so well done to our players for that. And we got in the attacking third on numerous occasions but just needed that final bit of quality to our play to make them pay.
“Peterborough defended very well in and around their penalty area – give them credit for that. It’s probably one of the reasons they are going up as well.
“We played some good football, we were calm in possession and had long spells of possession as well. That was pleasing from my point of view. If you look at the second half we had a lot of sustained pressure on their penalty area.”
PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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