Charlton AthleticSport

‘It’s an opportunity to answer one or two questions’ – Charlton head coach Appleton ready for FA Cup tie at Cray Valley PM

Michael Appleton is determined that Charlton Athletic get the job done in Wednesday night’s FA Cup first round replay at Cray Valley PM.

The Isthmian League South East Division side are gearing up for a return at The Arctic Stadium – the tie screened live on BBC – after a 1-1 draw at The Valley earlier this month.

Addicks head coach Appleton made 11 changes to his team for the first encounter between the two clubs. And this time around there will be enforced switches from Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Portsmouth with keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer and centre-back Michael Hector away with Australia and Jamaica respectively.

Terell Thomas has been called up by St Lucia while James Abankwah and Karoy Anderson – who both started against the Millers in the first tie – are also on international duty.

“We have to be as humble and respectful as we possibly can but, at the same time, be ruthless,” said Appleton. “You have got to play the game in front of you. Our players, at some point, have been in the situation and environment they are going to be faced with on Wednesday night. If they haven’t then they have got to learn really, really quickly. I see it as an exciting game, more than anything.

“It is an opportunity to answer one or two questions and hopefully we will do.”

Appleton has already been able to size up Cray Valley after they forced a return but added that they had already done their homework on the non-league outfit.

“We didn’t prepare any differently at all,” he said. “The footage we had on them wasn’t as good as you’d expect if you received it from a League One club but we had an understanding of every single one of their players.

“We knew they had got a bit of pace in the wide areas and they are comfortable defending in a low block and that they are hard to break down. We have to move the ball quicker, take less touches of the ball and switch play as well as we can. If we do that it gives us the best possible chance to win the game.”

There has been some debate about scrapping FA Cup replays to ease fixture congestion.

“My message to managers up and down the country is that if you don’t want replays then go and win the game – it’s as simple as that,” said Appleton. “If you don’t get the job done then that’s what you’ve got to do – face another fixture.

“I’m not going to be sat here telling anyone there shouldn’t be replays. The reality is that Cray earned the right to bring us to their own backyard to try and beat us. That’s what they will try and do.”

PICTURE: KYLE ANDREWS


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