Hamer comes to the fore in Charlton's bid to beat drop

Ben Hamer. Picture by Keith Gillard.

Ben Hamer. Picture by Keith Gillard.

First published in Sport

Addicks columnist MATIAS GREZ salutes the recent contribution of keeper Ben Hamer as Charlton continue to improve under new boss Jose Riga.

Like him or loathe him, you cannot deny Jose Riga has done a very good job since taking over from Chris Powell.

Personally, I do not think we would be in a dissimilar position now if Powell was still in charge - but that can neither be proved nor disproved.

The gloom of a possible looming relegation is gradually lifting with each passing result, and even the losses do not seem to affect our league position when coupled with the results of the teams around us.

There is now a three-point cushion between ourselves and the relegation zone, plus a superior goal difference to those below us.

And with Yeovil and Barnsley still to come to The Valley in the next fortnight, the first half of April could well determine where we will be playing football next season.

Six points from these two matches and safety could be well within our reach.

Just one defeat, however, and we might find ourselves right back in the middle of the relegation battle we have done so well to gradually distance ourselves from in the last few weeks.

In a season of doom and gloom, one constant shining light has been the performances of our number one.

Ben Hamer has started to draw the attention of Premier League clubs with a collection of outstanding individual performances which have earned a fair few points over the course of the season.

After a few costly errors last year and at the beginning of this season, I will be the first to admit I was not entirely convinced the was the man to be first choice between our posts.

However, after coming back from injury just after January and replacing Ben Alnwick after his surprise deadline day exit, the bearded stopper has become a front runner for player of the season.

Hamer has always been a brilliant shot stopper, no question about it, but at times his decision making left a lot to be desired.

Now he has a huge presence in his penalty area when previously he may not have and is now so commanding whenever he comes to collect crosses.

The image of Hamer at full stretch to keep the ball out of the top corner against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup sums up his season.

Surely even Yohann Thuram-Ulien realises he has not got a chance of edging Hamer out of his number one spot, no matter how good he believes he is in his own head.

Follow @NewsShopperSprt on Twitter for live updates from Charlton v Reading

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