Holden: 'It's a fantastic challenge for us'


Dean Holden says his players are relishing the challenge of taking on an in-form Ipswich Town side at Portman Road on Saturday.

Charlton, who head to Suffolk having lost just one of their last seven matches, face an Ipswich side that are currently enjoying a 13-game unbeaten run in League One. That form leaves the Tractor Boys - the division's top scorers - sat third, two points behind table toppers Sheffield Wednesday who have played an extra fixture.

"There's 15 points available and a brilliant away game at Ipswich is our next one, which is the only one we're focusing on," said the gaffer. "Ipswich are a team that have scored goals consistently throughout the season and, to be fair to them, they've built a squad capable of challenging at the top.

"Even in January they were flying high in terms of their position in the league and then they went and recruited some players, four of which have come in and started from January onwards. So even when they were at the top they were still looking to go again, which shows you the type of challenge that we've got in front of us.

"30,000 fans inside Portman Road with a good away following is a fantastic occasion for our players to go and play in at this stage of the season," he added. "There's plenty on it for us as we want to continue this recent good run of form, despite the little slip-up we had at Bristol Rovers on Good Friday. We've responded well which is important and, overall, we're in a good moment so we want to continue that."

"Kieran McKenna, in his first job, has done a fantastic job up to now, aided by his staff. It's a good test for us, particularly for our youngsters. We know where their strengths are; they're a very, very good team.[Conor] Chaplin, who plays just off the front, has got a number of goals this season. [Freddie] Ladapo was on fire and all of a sudden they've brought George Hirst in, so it shows you the strength that they've got in depth. It's a fantastic challenge for us and I'm looking forward to it."

Asked for an update on the injury front, Holden said: "Miles [Leaburn] is a young player and, as we've talked about before, it's his first season in men's football. He's had niggles throughout the season. He's not trained this week so we'll be guided by how he's feeling [on Friday] and the same with Sean [Clare] who hasn't trained either. [Lucas Ness] is still a long distance from coming back to training with the first team." 

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