Lee Bowyer spoke to the local media on Thursday morning to preview Charlton’s Sky Bet League One clash at Portsmouth on Saturday.
The game will pit the fifth-placed Addicks against eighth-placed Pompey, with both clubs still chasing a place in the play-offs come the end of the season.
Saturday’s match is likely to be a sell-out and Bowyer was asked about the expected atmosphere at Fratton Park, his injury list, Johnnie Jackson, Charlton’s final three matches and Tuesday’s win over Shrewsbury.
On Portsmouth and the Fratton Park atmosphere…
“Portsmouth is a tough place to go. It can be intimidating at times and, for sure, their fans will be behind them. They’ll have 18 to 20,000 there, so we have to be ready.
“This is going to be a different type of test [from Tuesday] for our players, playing in front of such a vocal crowd but we can use that to our advantage. Portsmouth fans have always been outstanding whenever I have played there but that should fire up my players just as much as theirs.
“That should be your aim as a player, to play in front of big crowds and good atmospheres. It should get the hairs standing up on your neck, but we’ll be ready for it. It will be a big test, but we know what we have to do, we have to keep on winning games and I’m sure we’ll be ready on Saturday.”
“I’ve spoken to the physio and he named five players whose hamstrings are sore and tight. The pitch was very heavy the other night, so we’re going to have to look and see how they are this morning [Thursday].
“It just shows the work rate they put in on Tuesday night but, as far as I am aware, we have no fresh injuries, just a lot of fatigue and tightness. Hopefully it is nothing too serious.
“I didn’t ask about Joe Aribo. I know that if I call on him he will put his body on the line for me.”
On Johnnie Jackson being on 498 career appearances…
“Obviously, everybody would like Johnnie to get to 500 career appearances because that would be some achievement. But I think you have to be careful about what you do because the most important thing is that we get the results.
“Johnnie will sit here and say the same. He would rather see the lads get the results than get to 500. But, you never know, there might be a couple of times when you can chuck him on to get to 500.
“At the moment, we’re not even thinking of anything like that. Johnnie is still injured so he’s not going to get to 500 when he’s still injured.”
On Charlton’s final three matches…
“When I first took over, I knew the run-in we had but I don’t doubt my squad of players. I never have and, from the first time I sat here in front of everybody, I said I believe we’ll make the play-offs and nothing has changed.
“Were in a good position and we’ve got three games to go now, I know it’s an old saying but they’re all cup finals and should we get in to the play-offs I don’t think there is a team that will beat us over
“There is a lot of football still to be played and no matter who you play at this stage of the season it’s going to be a tough game. There are no guaranteed three points at any stage of the season, let alone at the end.
“I’ve been in football long enough now to know that anybody can beat anybody on their day. That’s going to be the same for us as it is any other team; Portsmouth, Scunthorpe or whoever. Teams are either fighting for their lives or for promotion.”
On Tuesday’s win over Shrewsbury…
“We turned up on Tuesday and we fought for every ball. We knew it was going to be that type of game, a physical game, and that’s what I asked of them and they delivered.
“We had a lot of young players out there. It was a physical test for them and, for me, they became men that night.
“Not many teams that have gone to Shrewsbury; I think they’ve only lost two or three games at home all season, so to go there and do what we did, it was an outstanding performance.”
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