Lee Bowyer on expecting a reaction, an injury boost, Lee Novak and a ‘must-win’ game

Lee Bowyer insists that he is expecting a reaction from Charlton when they take on fellow play-off chasers Scunthorpe United at The Valley on Saturday.

The Addicks were beaten at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night - but remain sixth in the Sky Bet League One table – leaving their top-six fate in their own hands. 

And speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning, Bowyer said that he believes his side will bounce back in the ‘must-win’ match. 

On expecting a reaction…

“I’m expecting a big reaction on Saturday. As much as it hurt me on Tuesday, I know it hurt the players as well. 

“No professional wants to lose a game, especially at this stage of the season. I have no doubt that we’ll respond. Most of the players will be resting today [Thursday] but the ones who are training will be at it, I’m sure.”

On whether the game is ‘must win’…

“I think that is almost stating the obvious. Scunthorpe are just behind us and we have got five games to stay in the play-offs. 

“If we win all five then we are in the play-offs; it’s as simple as that. Being at home on Saturday, we’ll have our crowd behind us. 

“We have played really well in the two games we’ve had at home since I took charge and the crowd have really got behind us. I’m expecting the same on Saturday.”

On injuries…

“Ahmed Kashi, Naby Sarr and Tariqe Fosu could train on Sunday. 

“Hopefully they’ll get through Sunday, they are going to be doing little bits themselves today [on Thursday] with the medical staff. If they get through that, they’ll be in contention for Tuesday.

“They won't be fit for the Scunthorpe game but with the lads I have got available, there’s no reason why that’s not a strong enough squad to go and win, whether I make changes or not.”

On Lee Novak returning to The Valley…

“In the time I was here, before Lee left, he was injured for most of it. He’s a nice lad and whenever he did play he always gave 100 per cent. You can’t knock him for that. 

“It just didn’t work for him here and, unfortunately, sometimes that can happen as a player. 

“Lee has gone to Scunthorpe and has scored some goals. There will be 10 more Scunthorpe players out there on Saturday and they are all dangerous.”

On Scunthorpe United…

“Scunthorpe will come and try to win the game because they have to. They’re behind us, which I think makes the game a better prospect for us. It should be an exciting game because it is two sides who want to play football. For us, the most important thing is that we compete, pass and move the ball quickly.

“Saturday is a big game but so was Rotherham and so was Tuesday. They all are now. There are five left and the positive thing is that it is in our own hands. 

“We aren’t depending on anyone else and I’m excited for all of these last five games, starting Saturday.”

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