Injuries to key players haven’t helped manager Chris Powell’s cause in recent weeks.
The last two seasons at The Valley have seen a resurgence under Powell - winning League One in 2011 before a ninth place Championship finish in their last campaign - but this season certainly hasn’t started the way the former England defender would have wanted.
They’ve won only one of their first ten league games – a 2-1 home win against Leicester City – and find themselves just a point above the relegation zone. Two home draws against promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest and Blackpool took them into the international break in slightly better shape, especially given their clean sheet against the latter last Saturday was their first at home since November 2012.
But despite more positive results in the last week, Powell would have been delighted to get 13 days to boost his depleted squad. After losing players such as Ricardo Fuller, Danny Haynes and Bradley Wright-Phillips, the boss wasn’t able to replenish and improve his squad in the summer as much as he would have liked. For example, only Simon Church and on-loan Marvin Sordell have joined Yann Kermorgant in the striking department, meaning that youngster Joe Pigott - who hadn’t played at any level above the Conference – took up the position of fourth choice forward.
An injury to Kermorgant suffered in a 1-1 draw with Watford meant that Pigott made his league debut against local rivals Millwall, and he showed glimpses of talent but not enough to stop the side sliding to a 1-0 defeat. Kermorgant is a major talisman in south-east London, a focal point in linking the midfield with the strike force and during his absence goals have been extremely hard to come by.
Along with the former Leicester man in the treatment room are midfielder and captain Johnnie Jackson, right-back and the club’s player of the year for the past two years Chris Solly as well as experienced Premier League and Championship defender Leon Cort.
In a small squad, keeping key players fit is of vital importance and Addicks fans can feel aggrieved with injury problems that the team have suffered with in recent weeks, but with the break allowing time to recover, then there’s a possibility of all four men being back for the trip to Blackburn a week on Saturday. For Powell’s sake, I hope the possibility becomes reality otherwise it could be a long season of fighting the drop ahead.
Charlton fans, what are your hopes for the remainder of the season? How important are those players to you? Let us know.
image: © Ewan-M