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Charlton Athletic boss explains formation change – as doubts over future of main wingers a factor

Michael Appleton is set to persist with a front two after liking the tactical tweak both in training and Charlton’s second-half display against Peterborough United on Saturday.

The Addicks switched to a three-man central defence and wing-backs  in the 2-1 reverse at The Valley.

And Appleton reckons that having a longer-term plan without wingers is  sensible with Derby County failing with two bids in the January transfer window for Corey Blackett-Taylor, who is due to be out of contract along with Tyreece Campbell.

Both have yet to sign extensions although Campbell’s age means Charlton would be due compensation if he chose to move on.

Blackett-Taylor’s absence against Peterborough was cited as an injury picked up in training, at the end of a week when the Rams had a £250,000 offer rejected.

Chem Campbell’s loan from Wolves was terminated on Monday.

“The situation is where it is with Corey at this moment in time – he is our player and will remain our player until Derby come up with a fee that suits and fits us as a football club,” Appleton told the South London Press. “But if that did happen then, all of a sudden, you are down to one main wide player.

“As far as I’m aware we have made a good contract offer to Tyreece – the ball is in his court. If the worst-case scenario did happen and he didn’t stay then, come the summer, you have got no wingers at all.

Charlton Athletic v Exeter City SkyBet League One, The Valley, 03 October 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

“We want to get Alfie (May) in a position that you are getting the best out of him and, secondly, that he is most comfortable in.

“Even though I do think with the right number 10 he can be a nine in certain games, he plays his best football when he is playing with a big striker, or a striker that can deal with the ball.

“We will hopefully do that in this window, with a bit of luck. Going forward with the likes of Chuks (Aneke) and Miles (Leaburn) coming into the fray (after returning from injury), we’ll be able to get that partnership going.

“So with that in mind – are we going to have wingers or not have wingers? How can we be as effective as we can with one of the better goalscorers in the division?

“The three (at the back) just naturally came up in conversations over three or four weeks. We did a little bit of work in training and I quite liked how it looked and I enjoyed coaching it.

“It certainly suits us better with the two up top – like we did in the second half. We couldn’t find a way to get Chem and TC into the game in the first half against Peterborough because when we turned the ball over we weren’t good enough with it – we didn’t get the ball into them.

“When we had the two up there and almost went with two eights in the second half we had running power in the team. We ran all over them second half and it was good to see, good to watch.

“We put a really, really top side under pressure and the crowd got behind the players. That quite excited me going forward. In the very short-term it will be something we look to do and try to move forward with it.

“The reality is the better players you bring in and the more time you spend on the training ground trying to improve it – the more time in games doing it and sticking with it – hopefully it will be quite successful.”


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