Charlton AthleticSport

‘Having my day in that competition’ – Charlton boss aiming for EFL Trophy glory after coming close with Oxford and Lincoln

Charlton Athletic boss Michael Appleton is hoping to go one step further and win the EFL Trophy after coming close on three occasions at his previous clubs.

The Addicks, who are currently bottom of Group J after a 1-0 defeat at League Two side Crawley Town, continue their 2023-24 EFL Trophy campaign at home to Aston Villa’s U21 side tomorrow night.

Charlton progressed through the group stage last season, but they were knocked out in the second round after defeat at Plymouth.

Appleton reached the final of the competition with Oxford in the 2015-16 season, where they suffered a 3-2 defeat to Barnsley.

His Oxford side reached the final again a year later, but they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Coventry.

The former Blackpool boss also took Lincoln to the semi-final stages in the 2020-21 campaign, losing out on a spot in the final after a 6-4 defeat to Sunderland.  

“It’s one of them where I have mixed thoughts with the U21s coming into it,” Appleton told the South London Press.

“I get why they’re doing it from a development point of view. I would prefer a simple knockout over two legs or one game – that would suit me more, if I was being honest.

“It’s a competition where you can get to the quarter or semi-finals and all of a sudden, people start taking it seriously because, firstly, there is an opportunity to win a trophy and, secondly, to have a day out at Wembley.

“I have come close on three occasions now – I have lost in the final twice. They were two great occasions. We played Barnsley in the first game – Oxford were a League Two side and they were a League One side – and there were nearly 70,000 at Wembley.

“In the second year when we played Coventry, there were nearly 80,000 at the game. It was a proper final.

“I have come close on a few occasions, and I wouldn’t mind having my day in that competition at some point. 

“We still have two games of trying to progress through to the next round – that’s what we will try to do.”


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