Charlton AthleticSport

Charlton Athletic lack player profile to compete physically with teams like Cambridge United claims head coach Appleton

Michael Appleton has talked about lacking the profile of Charlton Athletic player to be able to compete physically with the likes of today’s opponents Cambridge United.

The Addicks had Lloyd Jones, Panutche Camara, Terry Taylor, Miles Leaburn and Chuks Aneke all missing due to injury for today’s 2-2 draw at The Valley.

Charlton looked to be heading for three points after a listless opening 45 minutes was followed by goals from Alfie May and Chem Campbell in the opening 16 minutes of the second half.

But Gassan Ahadme bagged a late brace for Cambridge as they ended a run of three straight League One losses.

Both teams failed to create a major chant in the first half and Appleton was asked how he ensured that there were more performances like the second period than what had preceded it.

He said: “It’s very difficult because ultimately I don’t play the game for them. You can only give them a bit of a structure and give them as much preparation as you possibly can – what the opposition are going to bring.

“We’ve got players in the team that struggle whether it is a 50-50 challenge or an aerial duel, just because of the profile of them as a person. We need to find a different way at times. We did that in the second half, we found a different way to get at Cambridge – we were a little more forward thinking and went forward a little bit earlier instead of trying to build.

“Our switching of the play was important. There is a reality now within the group that when we now come up against a side like a Cambridge we have to switch the ball a lot quicker than we did in the first half.

“The last three games – five points – is certainly not what we would want, considering some of the positions we have found ourselves in. If you think back to the Carlisle game, we absolutely dominated and only took a point. We have taken another point today and if we can get at least three points in the next two games then if we keep averaging eights points every five games we won’t be far away.”

Picture: Paul Edwards

Corey Blackett-Taylor collected an assist for Campbell’s goal but was replaced before the end of the match.

“He’s been struggling with a bit of a quad and a thigh for a while now,” said Appleton. “We’ve been managing it as best we possibly can and that’s why he wasn’t involved on Wednesday.

“He had a big contribution in the second half and I think he had a strike just before he came off and he felt it a little bit.

“Lloydy has got a thigh issue and likely to be out two to three weeks – probably more the three weeks. He looks unlikely to be availale next week and possibly the week after – maybe back Boxing Day and the 29th.”

Appleton brought on Daniel Kanu for Henry Rylah at the start of the second half.

Striker Kanu was recently recalled from his loan at Southend United and played through the middle with May moving out to the right.

It was Kanu’s cross was fell for May to score his 15th goal in the league and 19th in total for the campaign.

Picture: Paul Edwards

“Yeah he did (make a big difference),” said Appleton, when asked about Kanu’s impact. “He was great. We’ve seen a little bit of that the other night when he came on. He gives us a little more physicality up there.

“When you play with Alf up top as a number nine you’ve got to feed him and play balls down the side. But to do that you have to have a presence in the game and we never had that in the first half.

“He got his goal but I’m delighted with DK that, one, he looks like he is in a good place and, two, he is contributing.”

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