Bowyer: "Injuries taking their toll, but lads are digging deep"

Lee Bowyer admitted that injuries are taking their toll on his squad following the 2-1 defeat at Coventry City on Boxing Day. 

Joe Aribo is the latest player missing after picking up an injury in Saturday’s win over Gillingham, while George Lapslie had only just returned from a concussion which kept him out of the previous two games before suffering another head wound in the latter stages of the clash at the Ricoh Arena, likely keeping him out of Saturday’s trip to Barnsley. 

And Bowyer said that the ongoing injury list is having its effect on the busy festive period of fixtures. 

“It takes its toll,” explained the Addicks boss. 

“We don’t have people to bring in and we’re down to bare bones. We’ve got kids on the bench, left, right and centre with just Mark Marshall as the only senior one. You could consider Karlan senior, but he’s still young himself. 

“It’s hard. We’ve got to play again in three days’ time. Joe Aribo is a big loss. He’ll be out for a little while. We never pick up a week-long injury, they’re always longer term and Joe is looking no different. 

“George Lapslie is looking like another concussion. He’s got a big cut on his head and it’s not looking good. I’d be amazed if he was fit for Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Bowyer heaped praise on his players for their effort in recent weeks which has seen them rise into fourth place with the top two places within touching distance and is confident that they will react at Oakwell in three days’ time. 

“To get to where we are, the lads have been unreal,” he said. 

“We don’t have the luxury of what other teams have got. We’re all digging deep and it is tough, but we’ll put this behind us and go again against Barnsley. 

“I know I’ll get a good reaction because I’ve got a great bunch of lads in there who are all fighting. And the one thing I can say is that they give me everything until the end – they always do.

“We’ll patch the squad together and whoever steps out there, I know they will give 100 per cent. That’s a given. They know that that’s what I expect and that’s what I want and they give it, to be fair.”

Reflecting on the defeat to the Sky Blues, Bowyer felt that his team should have left with a point. 

“It was a scrappy game on a bad pitch,” he said. 

“It just wasn’t happening for us today. I tried to change it at half-time and played two wingers, hoping maybe they could make things happen, but it just wasn’t our day today. We just conceded two poor goals and left with nothing. A draw would have been a fair result. 

“We’re all disappointed, it was a big opportunity to close the gap again, but it wasn’t meant to be and there’s still a long, long way to go.”

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