Ahead of Charlton's season opener away to Blackburn Rovers, Lee Bowyer spoke to the press about the game at Ewood Park, Injuries, being back in the second tier and transfer dealings.
Bowyer’s full press conference is available to watch on Valley Pass. Valley Pass costs just £6.50 per month or £60 for the year and you can sign-up here.
Below are some of the press conference's talking points
On facing Blackburn Rovers…
"We played them a couple of years ago in League One. They’re going to be well-organised, they’re going to be a solid team. They have players that can hurt you. They’re going to be the same as any other team - they will have strengths and they’re going to have weaknesses, just the same as us.
"I’d say that this is probably a good time to play us because of the size of our squad at the moment. We’ll go there and compete though. I know that.
"The players that do turn out on Saturday will give 100 per cent. We’re probably starting with one or two more players than what we started with last year. Last year we were going to Sunderland and we couldn’t even fill the bench. This year, as it stands today, we can fill the bench. So, we’re a little bit ahead of where we were this time last year.
"Blackburn have an experienced manager; he’s been in the game a long time. We’ll turn up and respect them and I’m sure they’ll respect us as well."
"We’ve got two out with hamstrings. Sometimes you do get injuries in pre-season because you’re pushing them to their limits. We’re okay in those areas. Thankfully we’ve got another left-back to cover Lewis Page and Chuks Aneke, who’s been good pre-season, is not so bad, I think that it’s just this game that he’s going to miss. We should hopefully have him back for the next one.
"We’re going to a different league so it’s a completely different level of fitness. The players that we’re playing against now are different machines to the ones we were playing last year. We’ve had to push our lads even harder this summer. So you’re going to pick up the odd injury and that’s the way it is. Because we didn’t have many numbers through the door, we couldn’t rotate them like we would have liked to."
On being back in the Championship…
"We’re really excited because it’s a new challenge. There’s different challenges and last season’s challenge was to get promotion; this season’s challenge will be to stay in the league. A lot of the players haven’t played in the Championship so they’re looking forward to it - to play against a higher level of player. They had a taste of it on Saturday against Aston Villa. I think it was a good thing so that they can see what the difference is in strength and pace and decision making and how ruthless these teams are going to be in that division…
"We’ll compete [to stay in the division]. Like I’ve said, we’ve got winners in there [the squad]. They won a lot last year. Are we going to win as many games this year? Probably not. I’m a realist but if you ask me do you think we’ll compete to stay in the division; then yes. no matter who we bring through the door.
“It’s going to be hard for us to compete at the top end of this division, but will we compete to stay in this division? Yes, no matter who we bring through the door. I believe in what we have here.”
On transfer dealings…
"With Anfernee [Dijksteel], Middlesbrough came in. The owner said he’s not for sale, we’ve spoken to the owner and explained the situation, Middlesbrough’s come in again and Bristol City are interested as well. He's another young lad that’s only had one full season last season and now, all of a sudden, clubs are interested. Its shows that the work we’re doing here behind the scenes is good!
"…Then the West Ham’s and the Arsenal’s see what we do with their kids when they loan them to us and so we can build that relationship with them for the future.
"We still need five new signings. Whenever we think we’re close, someone comes over the top of us. We’ve just got to be patient and not go and make rash decisions and bring in players that aren’t going to improve us…
"[The owner] knows the situation we’re in. He knows we need to bring in five more players."
Bowyer’s full press conference is available to watch on Valley Pass in the video below. Valley Pass costs just £6.50 per month or £60 for the year and you can sign-up here.