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Valley boss rejects Strevens' criticism of Hayes recall
CHRIS Powell has rejected Ben Strevens’ criticism of his decision to recall Paul Hayes from his loan spell at Wycombe last month.
Hayes enjoyed a prolific spell with the Chairboys, scoring six goals in as many games to boost their chances of staying up.
However, he returned to The Valley after Yann Kermorgant was ruled out for the Huddersfield game on March 24 and hasn’t made the final squad for the Addicks since.
Wycombe’s mini revival has faltered since Hayes’ departure – they haven’t won a game – and now they find themselves three points from safety ahead of this Saturday’s trip to The Valley.
Striker Strevens made his displeasure with Charlton’s recall of Hayes public this week but the Addicks boss was having none of it when the subject as raised at his weekly press conference this lunchtime.
“I would say to him Paul Hayes is my player first and foremost,” Powell said.
“I don’t know Ben, he is allowed to have his opinion of course but I have to look after this football club and that’s the reason why Paul came back.
“He is ours, is contracted to us, I let him go out on loan for a month at least, so it was beyond that.
“But it was needs must for us. He had a couple of injuries and illness and I’ve got no qualms on that because he is ours.
“I understand Ben and their position but my club is Charlton Athletic and that is who I care about.
“I do know Gary Waddock and a few people at Wycombe. I want them to do well but Paul is contracted to us end of story.”
Despite being back on the fringes since his return, Powell was also keen to praise Hayes’ attitude and remind everyone he had been a key figure in Charlton’s promotion this season.
The manager added: “Of course he was enjoying playing at Wycombe and scoring goals but he has been fine.
“He has been involved, travelled everywhere and is still a part of the squad but obviously I decide who starts and who is sub.
“He has played his part in where we are this year, no doubt about it, and he is enjoying the moment like everyone else.”
It has been a week to remember for Charlton supporters after last weekend’s 1-0 victory at Carlisle sealed a return to the Championship and the boss was still buzzing this afternoon when asked to describe the mood in the camp.
“It has been understandably terrific,” said Powell.
“Forty three games gone and we’ve done what we set out to do, which was to get out of League One, move forward and we’ve done it.
“It is a tremendous feeling for everyone connected with our club, all the players because they’ve done it all. It is just a great lift for our supporters, for all our staff, just a wonderful, wonderful moment for us because for the past seven years it has been down.
“We’ve always finished lower than the previous season and I was very aware of that from last year and I was very determined towards the end of last season and throughout the summer that this was going to be it for us. It happened at five o’clock at Carlisle.
“After all the recruitment, all the training, all the times where you think ‘have I done this right? Yes I have’ or ‘is this player right for this game?’ “You’re not going to get everything right but obviously if you get promoted you’ve done more good than not. I’m really proud of everyone and the week has been great.
“The trip home, the scenes in the dressing room and when we finally got back together on Tuesday – the mood has been really bright and upbeat.
“But of course now our attention turns to Wycombe and can we remain in the position we’ve been in since September 17.
“That is still one aim for us to get. It is mission accomplished so far with the promotion, can we just finish it off in the right way.”
And with the pressure off, Powell is challenging his players to put on a promotion-winning display in front of an almost packed house when Wycombe visit SE7 on Saturday.
He added: “The good thing is we can play quite freely now.
“We were still a bit nervy, which is understandable and just human nature, but Wycombe desperately need the points.
“They are also relying on other teams dropping points and trying to get themselves out of the bottom four. It is still a tough game, still a game of 90 minutes where we are expected to win.
“A lot of teams have come to The Valley and made it difficult for us and I see them being no exception. But of course their situation is totally different to ours.
“The atmosphere will take care of itself and that’s why the XI who go out there, I want them to do it right and start off in the right fashion, as we’ve done in the majority of our home games, and really enjoy the moment and when the whistle blows we’ve got three points.”
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