BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer believes Charlton’s play-off prospects are still alive – but says everyone has got to take responsibility for a poor run of form.
The South London outfit lost 2-1 at The Valley to Burton Albion on Tuesday night with their top-six hopes suffering another severe dent.
Charlton are seven without a win in SE7 going into tomorrow’s home fixture against in-form Blackpool and require a storming finish to the League One campaign. They have conceded 22 goals in their last 10 matches.
“It’s still possible – because we have got a group that can go on a run,” said Bowyer. “But we have to defend better, we can’t give sloppy goals away. We look like we can score one, two or three because we create in every game – but we also give goals away. If we can stop that sloppiness then we will win games and we’ve got a better chance of going on that run and getting in the top six.
“But we work on this stuff. Like the throw-in on the other day [that led to Burton’s equaliser] – come on, that’s basic. The long punt down the pitch against Accrington – basic. They [the players] know that.
“The other night they know to lock on to the man. How many times do you have to keep saying the same thing? The players have to take responsibility for that because they are grown men – professional footballers. You can’t keep getting told the same thing week after week.
“I take responsibility for results, the way we set up and the way we play. But if you’re telling the players the right things and they can’t take it on board then that’s a problem.
“The stats don’t lie. When you watch the goals back, most of them are avoidable. The first one [on Tuesday] is avoidable. The second one you can’t control. I like to think I’m fair with them all. With the goals we concede I say whether we could have prevented them or not.
“All of Rochdale’s were unsaveable. The finishes were very, very good. The Gillingham lad will never score another one like that in his life.
“But we also gave Burton a two-goal headstart at their place. We are giving goals. We should be able to win games 1-0 but that is not going to happen with us with the way we defend.
“Hopefully Akin [Famewo] coming back might change a little bit – because on Saturday it didn’t seem to be the same way. He defends properly. Very rarely does he make a mistake, he’s not really made one since he has been here.”
Bowyer talked about needing to pick himself up – as well as the players – in the immediate aftermath of the reverse to Burton.
“The thing that disappoints me is that we started so well and then we just stopped doing it,” he said.
“We think it’s too easy and get complacent, that hurts me a lot more than a lot of things.
“We set them up a certain way to get in areas to hurt teams – we’re doing that, score and then we stopped. It’s almost like we feel it is too easy and so we’re going to do our own thing. That approach creeps into us from time to time. We shouldn’t lose the game, but we did.
“That’s why I have to pick myself up. What do you want me to do? I set them out in a way to win the game and they come off it. You can’t come off it, in any game. But that’s done now, we can’t change it.”
Chris Gunter was rested in midweek but will return to the squad.
“He’s played near enough every minute for us,” said Bowyer. “I don’t think any of the other injuries will be back.”
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