Charlton vs Blackburn Rovers preview
Charlton vs Blackburn Rovers preview

Lee Bowyer revealed to the SLP that talks are underway with a number of players about extending their stay at The Valley.

Academy products Dillon Phillips and Alfie Doughty are amongst them.
Another player whose contract ends in the summer is Naby Sarr. Sarr is the last of the Duchatelet signings remaining at the club, and Bowyer would love him to extend his stay:

“I would love to keep him,” said Bowyer. “When we play well, Naby is playing. That’s because when we pass the ball well it starts from the back.

“So many of the goals we’ve scored have come from passing out from the back and Naby is involved a lot of the time because he is very comfortable on the ball.

“Yeah, he makes mistakes – but all defenders do. You watch the Premier League and they make mistakes. If no-one made mistakes there wouldn’t be any goals. 

“I’d rather it not be our defenders, but that’s the game. It’s about limiting those mistakes.

“He is good for our squad and different to the other centre-halves that we have – left-footed. There are not many out there.

“I like him as a person. He is a lovely fella and great around the place.” 

The stumbling block could be money.‎ Sarr was one of the players brought in on a big salary – he is Charlton’s top earner. Negotiations will have to take place to agree terms that are within ESI’s structure. 

The jewel in the crown of course is Lyle Taylor. Bowyer revealed that he had spoken to Taylor at the time of his own contract negotiations:

“I chatted with him because being selfish I need him to be at it for us, he is at our football club, plays for us and needs to do well.

“When I said I needed to speak to him it was to drum in that he needs to do well for his own career.

“Everyone was worried he might not turn up but I knew he would, because he is a good lad and he cares.

“If he goes in the summer, he goes. Unfortunately I’m not able to control that.

“Unless we give him a really good contract, whether you like it or not all the teams are interested in him. That’s what happens when you do well.

“But there are other things that I won’t speak about that Lyle was saying to me, other things he wants to happen here for him to stay. 

“He wants to see things happen here and then there is a chance of him staying,” said Bowyer. 

Other than money success and winning trophies are the things players covet. One of the things Taylor wanted to happen was for Bowyer to stay. It also seems reasonable he wants to see that the club is ambitious. It may well be that if he is impressed with the calibre of player brought into the club during the summer, he will put pen to paper and sign a new deal to keep him at The Valley.

ESI have a five year plan to reach the Premier League, so will probably be looking to upgrade the playing staff during the summer. Of more immediate concern is Saturday’s clash with Blackburn. It is the club’s annual “Football for a Fiver” game and will be played in front of a big crowd. Storm Dennis is likely to be in attendance as well.

The five clubs immediately below the Addicks are all playing away fixtures, so it is an ideal opportunity for Bowyer’s team to create a little buffer between themselves and the club’s in the relegation places. Games are coming thick and fast right now – there is another midweek game next week – so the manager will have to carefully manage his players’ minutes.

Taylor will probably not feature for the full 90 minutes, but Bowyer must decide whether to start him or introduce him from the bench.

Charlton could line-up like this:

Phillips; Matthews, Lockyer, Pearce, Sarr, Purrington; Cullen, Pratley, Davis; Taylor, Green.

Subs: Amos, Oshilaja, Doughty, Smith McGeady, Aneke, Bonne. 

A tough game is in prospect, but one that gives the Addicks the opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and the foot of the table.