Charlton AthleticSport

Will Alfie still be banging in the goals in May? Striker’s goal glut boosting prospects of a League One play-off campaign

Alfie May is proving to be the man for every month. And his prodigious goal output could mean Charlton Athletic still have their campaign in play for the month which is also his surname.

The final round of fixtures in England’s third tier are set to take place on April 27.

Nobody of a Charlton persuasion needs reminding that the South London club have not reached the play-offs since losing their Championship status in 2020.

The last two campaigns have been pedestrian plods to the finish line with neither the prospect of promotion or relegation to spice things up.

If Charlton are to buck that trend then May is going to be pivotal.

His confident dispatching of two penalties in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Cheltenham Town means he now has 17 goals in all competitions and 14 in League One.

May had promised not to celebrate scoring against his old employers, deep in the relegation battle, but that was where his compassion started and finished.

When Miles Leaburn was fouled by Lewis Freestone, Charlton’s number nine had no thoughts of handing over spot-kick duties, whipping the ball beyond Luke Southwood and cancelling out Will Goodwin’s early opener.

Picture: Paul Edwards

And May did show some emotions after his late winner at the Covered End, as well as joining Lloyd Jones to perform the tunnel jump victory leap after the full-time whistle.

Seven league goals in six matches landed May the divisional October Player of the Month award.

And he has followed up by scoring six times in November. He only failed to find the net in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Carlisle and the original tie with Cray Valley PM, when he did not come on until the 61st minute.

May has relished and embraced the challenge of being Charlton’s leading attacker. And they need him to continue in that vein – especially with other front-line options unavailable.

The Addicks are set to be deprived of Chuks Aneke until 2024 with a hamstring injury and now the same could apply to Miles Leaburn. It was the centre-forward’s 20th birthday on Tuesday night but there was little to celebrate as he was forced off in the first half holding the top of his right leg.

Head coach Michael Appleton has tended to play May as a number 10 or wider on the right, his position in midweek until he went more central after Scott Fraser was replaced by Tyreece Campbell, feeling it allows him to make later runs into the box and not be too static.

Charlton Athletic v Cheltenham Town SkyBet League One, The Valley, 28 November 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

But now Charlton only have Slobodan Tedic as their other fit and available striker.

The Manchester City loanee has struggled for game time and it seemed that there was a discussion to be had – if control rests with the Addicks – as to whether his stay was cut short in January.

Tedic seemed intent on making a statement after his introduction, forcing Southwood to tip around his right post, and also put in a cross which looked to have been handled by Freestone.

Tedic had a big chance to collect his second goal for Charlton not long after the restart but could not keep the ball down from close range.

The indications are that the Addicks were already looking to bring in a striker before Leaburn’s setback. Now that only looks more imperative in January.

Charlton Athletic v Cheltenham Town SkyBet League One, The Valley, 28 November 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

Charlton want proven League One performers and have a lengthy wish list – but that could be influenced by their ability to trim their squad size.

Chem Campbell was absent from his fifth matchday squad in a row and with Panutche Camara’s injury issues then those two could be a saving, provided Wolves and Ipswich play ball if the Addicks do look to send them back.

STAR MAN
Alfie May. Didn’t show any mercy to his former club.

BEST MOMENT
Emphatic finish from the spot for the second time on the evening to clinch all three points.

MAIN PICTURE: PAUL EDWARDS

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