BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Tom Lockyer reckons that Charlton Athletic’s boardroom turmoil can be used in a positive way by the players.
The Addicks head in to tomorrow’s game at Hull City with the headlines this week being the battle for control between Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall.
Charlton dropped into the bottom three last weekend. Defeat at the KCOM Stadium would hugely dent their prospects of staying up.
Executive chairman Southall addressed the players and other training ground staff on Tuesday – with some of Lee Bowyer’s squad not holding back on their thoughts.
“For the other boys, the ones with families and kids etc, maybe they’ll be a bit more concerned than I am,” said Lockyer when asked about the off-the-field uncertainty. “On the whole our position doesn’t really change – we’re trying to stay in the league regardless of whatever is happening above our heads.
“All this going on doesn’t change that. If anything it makes you want it a bit more – you look at everything going to pot, so why not say: “Eff them all, let’s do it for us’.
“The reality is there for everyone to see – about the transfer window and why we had no backing. But as players we can’t get drawn into that. There are no more reinforcements coming in but the team all believe in each other and believe we’re capable of staying in the league.
“We’ll pull together, stick together and ignore everything off the field. Like I said before, it’s easier for some to do than others.
“It’s easy to crumble but I’d like to look at it the other way. Now we’ve gone into the bottom three and with everything happening and playing out in the media with regards to the owners, a few teams will look and say: ‘They are done now.’ That is going to fire up the boys. We’ve got nothing to lose, absolutely nothing.
“If you look at what is going on with the owners, if that doesn’t get sorted then we’ll need new investment – if the club is in the Championship it will be a lot better proposition for any potential investors than if it isn’t.
“If we are going to go out of the league then we’ll go out our way – and our way is fighting.”
Hull have banked only two points from a possible 30 and conceded 28 goals – easily the worst form in the Championship.
Charlton took 10 points over the same period. The Tigers are in freefall – but that needs to continue at the weekend for the South Londoners to leapfrog them.
“Every game now is huge but this is a six-pointer,” said Wales international Lockyer. “There is no papering over that. This is going to be massive.
“I thought Middlesbrough was massive as well, but that didn’t go our way. It’s been a bit of a bad run, three losses in a row, we’re going to have to try and turn it around.
“It’s not going to be easy – they are fighting for their lives as well.”
Lockyer is back after serving a two-match ban for 10 cautions.
“No-one likes to be missing games especially due to 10 bookings is s***,” he said. “I’ve let the referees’ decisions affect me a bit more personally.
“I’ve probably had a bit more leeway in previous years being captain at Bristol Rovers, you kind of get time to talk to referees.
“This season they have fobbed me off and not wanted to speak. When they make bad decisions and don’t talk to you then it really does my head in.
“I talked to my dad the other day and he said: ‘You’re letting referee decisions affect you too much’.
“I’ll try to keep a bit more of a calm head going forward.”