Charlton AthleticSport

Nigel Adkins: Charlton have to beat Lincoln to stay in League One play-off race until final day

Nigel Adkins has conceded that nothing less than a victory over Lincoln City tonight will keep Charlton’s fragile League One play-off hopes alive.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Accrington Stanley left the South London club eighth in the table.

Even a win over the fourth-placed Imps would leave Charlton a point behind sixth-placed Portsmouth and level with Oxford United, who have a superior goal difference.

“We need to win the game, it’s as simple as that, we need to win a game of football,” Adkins told the South London Press. “It’s one we’re looking forward to. We know it is going to be tough. Lincoln have put themselves in the play-off situation, so you’ve got to expect the unexpected from them.

“I expect them to be as strong as they can, to keep the momentum going, that’s what we’re preparing for, but we’ve got to think about ourselves and how we want to approach the game with the players we can get on the pitch and impact the game as well coming off the bench, it’s quite clear we need to win this game of football.

“The big thing is you respect the opposition, they are in a play-off position. They play out from the back, they play good football, it is similar to a Crewe situation the other day. They’ll want to build the ball from the back but they have big threats going the other way as well – they are a very athletic side, dynamic in what they do, so we’ve got to make sure by the final whistle, that we’ve found a way to win the game of football – ideally imposing the game on how we want to go an play it but being mindful of the attributes the opposition will have.”

Jake Forster-Caskey hurdles a challenge at Accrington Picture: Kyle Andrews

Some Charlton fans seem to have already written off their side reaching the play-offs after a run of three matches without a win. They have taken two points from a possible nine since the 6-0 thumping of Plymouth.

“It’s the life of a football supporter, it’s like life in general, you have snakes and ladders,” said Adkins. “You are trying to climb that ladder and all of a sudden a snake comes in and you are down again and you have to find the next ladder.

“If it was all ladder, ladder, ladder it would be quite boring, wouldn’t it? it’s the ups and downs you have in football.

“We went through it at the weekend, I reflected on the game and both sides had honest, hard-working, committed professionals trying to find a way to win a game of football. They were very committed, in the debrief this morning we saw the defending skills – the art of defending from set-pieces was there for all to see. There were many good things, it’s not the beautiful game that you want to go and see but it’s things you’ve got to do in a football game to go and win it.

“We have to be optimistic. All we can do is look at the next game – win the next game. What’s in front of you? We’ve got 95-100 minutes a game will last, we’ve got to find a way to win a game of football. Ideally playing the way we want to play but likewise the opposition are going to have a say in that, so we’ve got to overcome that.”

Charlton have won just six of 21 matches at The Valley, only three clubs – all in the bottom eight – have managed fewer.

“We’re presented with an opportunity to change that,” said Adkins. “We’ve got two games at home now – the next one is the most important. It’s an opportunity for us to improve on our home form, so we should relish that and look forward to it.”


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