Michael Appleton wants to see his side continue their momentum when they host Aston Villa’s U21s in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.
Charlton are unbeaten following Appleton’s arrival and are averaging two goals per game under the Head Coach.
“I’m still learning about the group of players,” explained Appleton in his pre-match press conference. “Not necessarily all of them, I think I have got an idea of a lot of the strengths and weaknesses and the mentality of the majority of the players, but there are still one or two that I am still figuring out a little bit in terms of how hard and how far I can push them.
“That is why games like tomorrow in this competition are really important to me. I was trying to make that message after Saturday’s game. To have a successful team and a successful season, certainly at our level, this competition can be quite important because of the players who, at times, need minutes and want minutes. This is a great chance to let that happen.
“Obviously there are certain players that I think deserve an opportunity to take a step back,” he continued. “Clearly you are going to have one or two players that have been heavily involved over the last few weeks who you are potentially going to try and use from the bench if need be, but we will try and make the 11 as strong as we possibly can under the circumstances.
“Again, we are just looking to win the game. We want to stay on the front foot and we want to keep the momentum going; it is not going to drop if we do not win the game tomorrow, but it is nice playing competitive games of football and winning. I have come pretty close on a couple of occasions in this tournament and I know we are a goal behind, so to speak, with the loss to Crawley, but we have still got two good opportunities to progress.”
Charlie Kirk has been absent from Appleton’s first five matchday squads. Asked if the 25-year-old needs to do more to get into his thoughts, the Head Coach said: “I think he does and I think he would be the first to admit that. All I would say is, since I have been here, he has had a couple of illnesses. He has had two different illnesses where he has not been in and not trained for two or three days at a time. To be fair to him, he has been a little bit under the weather over the last two or three weeks. He has trained probably the last four or five training sessions and he will be involved tomorrow, so you will see definitely see him at some point tomorrow.
“I am aware of Charlie from his time at Crewe, coming up against him many times. It is down to him and I am sure we will give him the platform and the opportunity to try and impress, and then hopefully he will do that.”
Appleton revealed the Addicks are assessing their goalkeeping options following Harry Isted’s injury.
“We are looking at a couple of different options and we will make a call on it tomorrow morning,” he commented. “We potentially have something that might be able to help us out in the short term. If that does not come through then obviously Ash will have to play.”