Lee Bowyer says Chuks Aneke has “stepped up” since returning from lockdown and the former Arsenal man is keen to make his mark in the remaining nine games.
The 26-year-old has already played a crucial role in two of Charlton’s wins this season – netting to put the Addicks in front against Stoke City at The Valley and winning a crucial penalty in his side’s 2-0 at Reading.
Having played in the number 10 role and as a member of the front two, Aneke is happy to play wherever Bowyer sees best, he just wants to help the team stay in the Championship.
He said: “I’ve always played in both positions, so I have no preference. Wherever I play I try and do my best for the team to score goals and make assists.
“The clear aim is to stay in the league for everybody. We’re pushing hard to stay up so that’s what we’re all focussed on.”
Bowyer was impressed with Aneke’s performance at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal on Saturday and for him it was a nice return to the club he left in 2014.
He explained: “I really enjoyed it. I’ve played at The Emirates a few times with the youth academy. I got to see my old U18s manager Steve Bould and a few other that I was there with. It was great.
“I played with Hector Bellerin, Emiliano Martinez when I was there. It was good to catch up with them.”
It was a welcome return to action for Aneke who has suffered a variety of injuries and he believes the lockdown has helped him get in a good place.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries this year,” he said. “The break has helped, we’ve not been playing football, so I haven’t had much of an injury risk. I’m hopeful I can come back fit and help the team now and stay injury free.
“It’s been good to be back in training with the lads and playing football again. We’ve been off a while, but we’ve had work to do and a lot of running. We’ve kept as fit as we could. We’ve got a short turnaround now with games coming up but we’re going to do our best to be fit and ready.”
First on the agenda is Hull City on June 20th and Aneke is fully focussed: “Everyone knows our position in the table and their position in the table, it’s a lot more interesting. It’s a game we know we need to set out and win. It’s very important for us to stay in the league.”
Transcription by Nick Emms