Powell not ruling out late play-off bid by Addicks

Valley manager Chris Powell. PICTURE BY EDMUND BOYDEN.

Valley manager Chris Powell. PICTURE BY EDMUND BOYDEN.

First published in Sport
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CHRIS Powell has not ruled Charlton out from making a late surge for the play-offs.

Victory at Leicester on Tuesday night propelled the Addicks into the top half of the Championship table and they could leapfrog Nottingham Forest with victory over them on Saturday.

The Valley boss feels there are several sides who fall into the same bracket of having the potential to make a late play-off bid and has identified Charlton’s next five games as crucial in determining how the rest of the season pans out.

“There are a number of teams,” he said.

“While it is up for grabs, and while you are in touching distance, then you’ll always have a go at it and why not?

“That is the beauty of the play-offs, it keeps your season alive regardless of your position if you’re not too far away.

“Looking at this division, you could be fifth or sixth from bottom and still be in a position or trying to get there because it is so tight.

“Who knows what is going to happen?

“There are 13 games to go.

“I have always felt these next five games are imperative for us with regards to where we go.

“We have got two home games against Forest and Burnley and then we go to Peterborough.

“Then we go to Huddersfield, then we end it with Millwall at home before the two-week international break.

“So these next five games I feel can shape the season somewhat, so the season is still alive.”

Powell added: “If all the results are positive, and I want them to be of course, we can see where it takes us.

“If they’re not, then we have got a number of games to look at and make sure we get the points that we need.

“I’m a football manager and my first remit is to make sure we are a Championship club, that’s my first port-of-call.

“Anything on top of that I will take.

“People always talk about 50 points.

“I think it’s going to be a few more this year because of how teams like Barnsley, Peterborough and Bristol City are picking up points.

“You’ve just got to keep looking at your own position, keep getting those points for your own football club and then if you have got eight or nine games to go and you’re in a strong position, then you take it.

“If you’re not in a strong position, then you negotiate those games to get what you need to make sure you’re a Championship.”

But if Charlton are to force their way into the play-off picture their home form needs to improve.

As things stand, the Addicks have the fourth best away record in the division but the second worst at home.

Had Charlton been able to match their home form to their away results, they would now be on 50 points, sit seventh and only one point behind sixth-placed Middlesbrough.

Powell wasn’t shy in conceding results need to improve at The Valley and is expecting a tough game against Forest under the stewardship of new manager Billy Davies.

“Our home form hasn’t been great – understatement of the year,” admitted the manager.

“We need to turn that around, we can’t blame the pitch and we can’t blame certain aspects.

“It’s ultimately about the players and going out there and implementing how we want to play and the game plan and the tactics.

“It’s about just keeping trying to knock on that door and we’ll be doing that against a side that got a great result in the week with a new manager.

“But I’m really happy with the response of the group.

“Win, lose or draw, they want to improve, they want to do better and we’re hoping the Leicester result will be the springboard for us to have another little mini-run and we’ll be looking to do that against Forest.”

Powell added: “Forest have got the added factor of a new voice, a new manager amongst all the upheaval that has happened at the club, their fourth manager within a year.

“They have got some very good players that are used to this level and on the back of a very good result for them, they will be coming here looking to keep pushing forward.

“If you get a few results like they have recently, then all of a sudden you are looking upwards and are trying to get yourself into that top six.”

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