Charlton Athletic vs Sheffield Wednesday preview
Charlton Athletic vs Sheffield Wednesday preview

The following statement was released on the official Charlton club site on Friday morning:

“We are privileged to take ownership of such an historic club and it is incredibly exciting to be part of the process of building a fresh future for the fans, loyal club staff and players of Charlton Athletic.

While we may be the club owners, truly we are only the custodians. The true spirit of this football club rests with the fans, it is nothing without them. Their support throughout some difficult times both recently and in the past has been inspirational and we intend to build on that loyalty. Our priority will be immediate contact with fan groups in order that their views play a major role in the club going forward.

We believe the football side of the club is in excellent hands with Lee Bowyer and what he and the players have achieved following promotion has been outstanding. We will do everything possible to support Lee’s vision and ambitions.

We would like to thank Roland Duchatelet, his team and the directors for helping to facilitate a quick and smooth sale. They leave the club with solid foundations on which we can invest and build.

Any deal of this kind is subject to the approval of the EFL and we are now working closely with them on the final details to satisfy their Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Until that has been received, we will be making no further comment.

But please be assured we intend to do everything within our power to bring back a true sense of pride to Charlton Athletic Football Club which is the least the fans, future generations of supporters and the community deserve”.

Matt Southall

Chairman

The news was met by widespread approval by the fans. The new owners will be called East Street Investments. East Street is where the club was formed in 1905.

The deal is subject to approval by the EFL, but that appears to be no more than a formality.

The early signs are excellent. The new owners are keen to secure Lee Bowyer and his staff on long term contracts. They also want to agree terms with star striker, Lyle Taylor, as a priority.

Bowyer declared his excitement with the news in an exclusive interview with the SLP: ‎”Until it (the sale) gets EFL approval I don’t want to get too carried away, because you don’t know what they might say.

“But for the football club moving forward – and the talk that is being said at the moment – it is all positive. And that isn’t something we have heard for a long, long time here – in terms of off the pitch.

“If it all comes off it can be exciting times for everybody.

“On a personal note, they’ve said they’d like to tie us down and give us proper contracts. As staff we have worked so hard to get the club to where it is at, so that is nice to hear – that we are part of their plans going forward. It’s a great club, it means a lot to us.

“If they come in, back us and get behind us – help us a little bit – it can only be all positive,” said Bowyer.

Though Steve‎ Gallen will continue as Head of Recruitment, he will no longer be a director. Long serving director and former chairman, Richard Murray, will not be part of the new set up.

The news is likely to put thousands on the gate for Saturday’s game with Sheffield Wednesday at The Valley. There will no doubt be a carnival like atmosphere around the ground and CARD will be giving away 1,000 red and white scarves.

But Bowyer has a game to win, and given the current injury crisis, that will not be easy. The manager will have to rely on a mixture of youngsters and players less than 100% fit to complete the bench.

Lee Bowyer will be without nine first team midfielders – Chuks Aneke, Josh Cullen, Sam Field, Jake Forster-Caskey, Conor Gallagher, Beram Kayal, George Lapslie, Erhun Oztumer and Jonny Williams for the clash.

In addition, Ben Amos, Lewis Page, Lyle Taylor and Tomer Hemed are all still sidelined.

Even for Charlton, this is a crisis like no other. To make matters worse, all the injuries seem to drag on. Players do not miss a game or two, they are out for weeks if not months.

Promising youngsters, Alfie Doughty and Albie Morgan, were not considered ready for the rigours of the Championship at the beginning of the season. They went out on loan to gain experience, but have had to be recalled to bolster Bowyer’s options.

‎Both are certain to feature against Wednesday. Gary Monk’s team are a battle hardened, physical team, packed with Championship experienced players. In an ideal world, Bowyer would not want to expose Doughty and Morgan to this type of game, but he has little option.

The manager is hoping to have Aneke, Taylor and Williams available for next week’s trip to Middlesbrough. But Taylor has been out since August and Williams for several weeks, so it will take them a while to get back to their best.

Also after‎ such lengthy absences the players will be at risk of suffering a recurrence of the injury. As if all this is not enough, Bowyer has the busy Christmas and New Year period‎ to negotiate. His job must seem like mission impossible to him right now.

The Addicks could look something like this:
Phillips; Matthews, Lockyer, Pearce, Purrington; Oshilaja, Pratley, Morgan, Doughty; Leko, Bonne.
Subs: Maynard-Brewer, Solly, Sarr, Oshilaja, Vennings, Davison.

Sheffield Wednesday are not in great form either – they are on a winless streak of five – so Bowyer will still believe his team can take something from the game.


 
Seo