Michael Appleton was conflicted following the Addicks’ 3-3 draw at Port Vale on Saturday afternoon, a game in which he saw the best and worst of his side.
“I’m a little bit frustrated again that we’ve not been able to see it out,” he told CharltonTV. “But at the same time, there’s a lot of pride with the fact that we’ve had so many young players out on the pitch. Two of them scored today and they’ll remember it for a while.”
The boss was quick to commend his side’s fighting spirit after a run of disappointing results. “Very proud of them today, and that was the message to them in the dressing room afterwards,” he said. "After three defeats, and the way we lost those games as well… for us to put in a spirited performance like we did today, I’ve got to be pleased with that. They’re a group that never know when they’re dead. They keep getting up.
“It’s been a tough period for the players. But from a resilience point of view they just keep coming back. The last bit sums them up in an absolute nutshell. We concede a third goal to go 3-3, and then it’s literally never say die. They don’t want to give up on things, and we should have had an absolutely blatant penalty.”
In particular, the gaffer was impressed by the second-half performance of Daniel Kanu, who put Charlton ahead on the hour mark.
“I’m glad he got his goal because that first half was tough for him,” said Appleton. “There were a lot of balls going into him and then coming back. It was difficult for him and he was suffering a little bit at the time. So we got around him, tried to get him going again, and he got his goal.”
Despite Kanu’s showing, Appleton pointed at Port Vale’s Uche Ikpeazu as an example of what a target man can do for a team. Having already got loan signings Tyreeq Bakinson and Lewis Fiorini through the door, the boss is keen to add a striker to his squad.
“It was clear in that first half, when you look at the opposition, they’ve got an experienced, big striker up there. He was an outlet for them, and played with his back to goal at times. He gives them a different dimension. And that’s what we’ve been missing. We don’t have to hide it, we’re all aware of it.
“So if we can get one in, fantastic. It will help us, it will make us better, it will give us a focal point. We’re working really, really hard behind the scenes to make that happen.”