Lee Bowyer on Bradford City, the international break, Joe Aribo and contracts

Lee Bowyer sat down with the local media on Thursday morning to preview Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash against Bradford City at The Valley (3pm)

The Addicks will be hoping to consolidate their place in the play-off places, while the Bantams are in desperate need of the points as they battle for third-tier survival.

And at his pre-game press conference, the manager was asked about his team’s weekend opponents, the international break and the contract situations of Joe Aribo and himself. 

On Bradford struggling this season… 

“Personally, I can’t see why Bradford are down there. Their front three are good players; Doyle was one of the top scorers in the league last year, Ball got promotion with Rotherham last year and Payne is another good player. Those three can hurt you on their own. 

“They leak goals at the back, that’ been their problem but, whoever you play at this stage of the season, it is going to be difficult because everyone is playing for something. Whether it is promotion, play-offs or survival, everyone has something to play for. 

“From here on in, every game is going to be hard and a different challenge and it is down to us to be professional and respect every team that we play, which we do in every game. If we do those things right then we’ll win games.”

On possibly losing momentum due to the international break… 

“If anything, it gave us a chance to recharge batteries. It was tough going Saturday-Tuesday and then the Bristol game was hard. Now all of the lads have had some time off, apart from the international ones, to recharge their batteries and you should have seen them training over the weekend because they looked even more hungry now. 

“They were like a kid if you had taken their toys away! Kids just want to play with their toys and the players are no different with football. I’m looking forward to Saturday because the lads’ attitude has been spot-on, their intensity has been spot-on and, if anything, that will give us an advantage come later on in the season.”

On Joe Aribo’s contract situation… 

“We’re trying our hardest to get Joe to sign a contract. Obviously, there was speculation earlier in the week with Arsenal. If that is the case, it shows we have done a good job with Joe. 

“He was hardly playing last season and, if it is true, he has now got clubs like Arsenal looking at him. I have spoken to Joe on a number of occasions; he knows how we feel about him. He is improving and progressing and this is the best place for him to be.”

On his own contract situation… 

“I had a message on Thursday night from someone who works for the owner. He said they are going to offer me a contract next week so we will see. They are going to propose something to me but I don’t know what that is yet, so once I do see it then I’m sure I will be asked about it by you [the media] again. 

“I’m guessing that they want to deal with me first and then the others [my backroom team] will follow. In my eyes, we have all done a good job; me, Jacko and Marshy and I think that we all deserve new contracts.”

Tickets for Charlton’s next game – against Bradford City on Saturday, March 30th – are on sale and can be purchased online by clicking here

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