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Charlton Athletic boss addresses Charlie Kirk’s omission from FA Cup replay win over Cray Valley PM

Charlton Athletic head coach Michael Appleton has addressed the absence of Charlie Kirk from last night’s matchday squad at Cray Valley PM.

The former Crewe winger started the first round tie at The Valley and missed two good chances in the second half to put the Addicks back in front.

Some sections of the home support cheered when Kirk, 25, was subbed off for Nathan Asiimwe in the 61st minute.

“I was disappointed with some of the performances from a few of the players,” said Appleton after that match. “I expected a little bit more from some of the players.

“When you get players knocking on your door or agents asking: ‘Why is my player not playing’, these types of days are good for managers and coaches. You just have to remind them of the performances on days like today. The one real positive from today is that you get a second crack at it.”

Appleton had five players unavailable due to international call-ups for Tuesday evening’s replay but opted for youngsters such as Harvey Kedwell and Micah Mbick to help fill his bench. Both came on in the closing stages of the 6-1 win over over the non-leaguers.

Asked if Kirk was one of the players he had been referring to after the first tie, Appleton said: “There was more than Kirky – there were 11 players in that game at The Valley and didn’t do themselves justice. That can happen in football sometimes, it’s not just about one person.

“There was certainly enough quality on that pitch to win us the game and it just didn’t happen.

“We had another opportunity and a change of team – a change of mentality maybe, because of the amount of senior players in the group tonight. We proved that.”

Kirk was one of the players that Charlton were open to moving on in the summer window but no deal materialised.

Charlton Athletic v Fleetwood Town SkyBet League One, The Valley, 02 September 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

“I’ve had an honest conversation with Charlie – Charlie needs to play football and with a smile on his face again,” said Appleton. “I think that is probably going to be difficult at Charlton. Obviously the reaction from everybody when I saw and watched the game surprised me slightly – but I’ve only been at the club two or three months.

“I’m looking at it from a fresh pair of eyes and I want to give players an opportunity and give them as much opportunity as I possibly can but, at the same time, I’ve got to protect players as well and look after them.

“I think the honest conversation that Charlie and myself had is that he probably needs a fresh start.”

Asked if Kirk wouldn’t play again for the Addicks, Appleton said: “No, I’m not saying that. Ultimately he is a quality player and there are going to be injuries and suspensions. We’ve seen that already with the likes of Chuks (Aneke) and Pan (Camara). At the moment you’ve seen there are a couple of young players who have got a little bit about them and can come on the pitch to change the game.

“I’m definitely not writing any player off and I would never do that but, at the same time, what I would say is whether it is Kirky or Chem (Campbell) coming on today – whoever it may be – from an attitude point of view they have been absolutely different class. They are asking questions of the players in the 11 straight away.”


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