Lee Bowyer discusses the visit of Leeds United, Marcelo Bielsa and player fitness

Charlton Manager Lee Bowyer spoke to the press on Thursday morning ahead of Saturday's home game against table-toppers Leeds United.

The full press conference is available to watch on Valley Pass. To sign-up for Valley Pass, which costs £6.50 per month, click here.

Below are some of the talking points...

On the visit of Leeds United and playing for them…

"Obviously, Leeds is a club where I spent a long part of my career. For me, that was the best side I played in. I’ve got some unbelievable memories that will always have a place in my heart - but this is just another game, because that was when I was playing, I’m not playing anymore. 

"I’m the manager of a different team and I want to win so nothing changes for me. I’ll acknowledge the crowd after the game and show them the respect that they showed me for so many years. But my job from last Saturday, is to win the game this Saturday. No matter who the side are. They’re another team in our division that are going to try and beat us so, we have to try and match that and do better."

On facing the challenge of Marcelo Bielsa…

"It’s a massive challenge. For me they’re the best team in the league. They should have gone up last season but fell just short. I watched Leeds the season before he took over and what he’s done is unbelievable. There’s not much difference to the squad that he took over and the squad that he’s got now. So, I have the utmost respect for him and all his staff and what they’ve done there.

"It’s going to be a tough game. they’re up the top for a reason. It’s going to be a good challenge.

"We’ve got a game plan and we’re at home. We’re not going to sit back and invite pressure because it’ll be like when teams play Manchester City, the law of averages says that they’re going to score at some stage. We have to play our game. No one seems to do that, everyone seems to give them too much respect and sit off of them, we won’t be doing that we’re going to play the way that we play; that’s got us to where we are today. 

"With our crowd behind us it’s going to be a good game to watch as a neutral."

On player fitness...

"Jason Pearce was available last week but we had to be careful with him because he hardly trained last week but, he’s trained fully this week. so yeah he’s up for selection, properly. Again, we have to be careful because we’ve got Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday.

"Some players can’t do that Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday and that’s something I’ve got to be mindful of. 

"Lyle Taylor is no closer, he’s still in a brace. He’s maybe going to be in that for another couple of weeks and then we’ll have more of an idea. But until then, Lyle will just keep hobbling around. 

"Beram Kayal is going to be out for a couple of weeks, he had to go for a scan, and he’s got something wrong with his groin, so he’s had to have an injection in there. It’s going to be a couple of weeks before he’s back training. 

"Everyone else is fit, some of the lads, In the week, got 90 minutes against Ipswich [U23s], Chuks [Aneke] got 75 in him. Adam Matthews is coming along nicely, he created two goals on Monday. He’s getting fitter and stronger, which is good because we’ve only got Chris Solly there and he’s going to need some help. So he’ll be available for next week."

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