Michael Appleton expects much more from his Charlton side when they travel to Bristol Rovers on Friday night.
The hosts come into the clash on the back of a dramatic 2-1 win against Portsmouth last time out. Luke Thomas scored with just 90 seconds remaining to condemn the table toppers to their first away league defeat of the season last time out.
“They’ve changed shape a little bit since Matt [Taylor] has gone in and they’ve been playing with three at the back, which I know he’s used at previous clubs he’s managed,” explained Appleton. There’s been a definite improvement in them.
“I have to say I quite like them as a group and I think they’ve got some talented players. They’ve got one or two players that I’ve worked with before so I know a little bit about them. It’s going to be a tough fixture and it always is, to be fair. It’s always a really good atmosphere there and a difficult place to win games. I’ve been there many times as Oxford and Lincoln manager and had tough fixtures.
“We’ve been frustrated with a lot of draws of late and obviously the loss on Boxing Day. I’d like to think that our performance and energy levels will be much higher and much better tomorrow night, and I do believe that will be the case.”
Asked for an update on the Addicks’ injuries, Appleton said: “We’ve got or one two with knocks that hopefully we’ll be able to steer through to make sure that they’re ready for the game tomorrow.
“There’s a chance that we might see the likes of Conor [McGrandles] and Terry [Taylor] before the end of January,” revealed the Head Coach. “There’s no definite return date for Chuks [Aneke] at this moment in time because we’ve got to be really careful and obviously make sure that when he has re-scans it’s going in the right direction etc. Certainly with Conor and Terry it’s a little bit more promising in terms of being able to be available towards the end of January. The rest are obviously beyond January.”
“Lucas [Ness] is up and running, but the reason him and Deji [Elerewe] have been out of it at the minute is because I don’t feel and see the need to have two centre-halves on the bench,” he added. “From a tactical point of view, you would rather have as many attack-minded players in your squad rather than defensive. We’ve got plenty of cover with the likes of Terell [Thomas] and Nathan [Asiimwe].”
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