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Michael Appleton: Charlton team might take more risks until January transfer window allows tactical tweak

Michael Appleton reckons Charlton Athletic might have to “take a few more risks” until there is the chance to change the complexion of his squad in the January transfer window.

The Addicks head coach talked about lacking the personnel to sit back, defend deep and protect their lead against Wycombe Wanderers in Saturday’s 3-1 victory.

“More profile than anything,” said Appleton, when asked about his post-match comments later this week by the South London Press.

“Don’t get me wrong, when you look at the likes of Scott Fraser and Panutche Camara (both injured since the opening weeks of the season) they are two really experienced players who can help the profile of the group and team to set up differently – without changing the shape too much but changing the ethos of how we approach the game. They’d allow us to do that.

“With the young lads we’ve got, we’ve got a lot of ability and attack-minded players in the group – even the midfield – and I include Karoy (Anderson) in that. Chem Campbell, Louie Watson, TC (Tyreece Campbell) and Terry (Taylor), to a degree, although he can do the four role.

“At this moment in time, possibly until we do business in January, we have to take a few more risks.

“Saturday was a great example of that. It might’ve been on a different day and with a different sort of options to me, I might have tried to steady the ship a little bit going into the last 15 or 20 minutes or so. I knew we needed to change something and that the players needed a little bit of help, because we were under the cosh a little bit.

“I thought ‘let’s still try and get a goal and attack them – put them on the back foot’. We settled down after we made the subs. They made a big difference.”

Appleton is unbeaten since taking control of first-team affairs.

He started with a 1-1 draw at Stevenage, who topped the League One table at the time, and followed up with a successful first match at the helm at The Valley as Charlton saw off the Chairboys.

“I’ve been delighted with the way it has panned out because there have been tricky fixtures and fixtures against opposition I knew would be a real challenge to the group,” said Appleton. “I knew the physicality would come into play, so to come through those two games with four points, I’m delighted.

“Going forward you will see naturally our game develop and be a little more expansive – just because of the opposition we will come up against. We are going to come up against a few sides over the next few weeks who will probably look to play a little bit more, which will allow us to express ourselves a little bit more.

“In terms of the actual season ahead, I know it is a cliche but our thoughts are literally game to game at the minute. We want to keep building a little bit of momentum, if we can, and use that as building blocks to improve every game.

“I meant what I said when I first came in – the league is very open. I don’t see an Ipswich or Plymouth, like last year, running away with it. Even Sheffield Wednesday, the amount of points they accumulated and didn’t go up automatic. I think it will be a hell of a lot more competitive and possibly, going into the final few fixtures, it might be one where up to 10th and 11th position are still thinking of having a chance of getting in the play-offs.”

Appleton’s job title is a change from his predecessor Dean Holden, taking on the head coach role rather than being termed the manager.

Asked if he expected to have a say on transfer window signings and contract renewals – the likes of George Dobson and Corey Blackett-Taylor are both inside their final year of their terms – he said: “I certainly hope and expect the experience and knowledge I have, dealing with players and the clubs I’ve been at where we’re had to be really sensible and work really hard on our recruitment, I’d like to offer that knowledge and experience to recruiting or making decisions on players.

“I’m hoping that will be the case and I’m sure it will be the case.”


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