Lee Bowyer defended his decision to make nine changes to his starting line-up in the 2-0 FA Cup second round defeat to Doncaster Rovers.

Second half goals from Andy Butler and John Marquis was enough to seal the tie but Bowyer called for fans to have some perspective as they prioritise the league.

“Look at the bigger picture,” said Bowyer.

“We want promotion. We’re not going to win the FA Cup, be realists. Would it be nice to have a run? Yes it would, but if it’s going to sacrifice me losing one, two, three players, then why am I doing that? There’s too much at stake.”

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Bowyer pointed to the punishing league fixture list as he rested players out of fear of picking up further injuries.

Krystian Bielik and Karlan Grant were in line to play but neither featured after pulling up in training on Friday following the 2-1 away win at Burton on Tuesday. Tariqe Fosu was also ruled out with a tight groin.

“My job is to do the best for the club, but they’ve got fatigue injuries. I can’t risk any more.

“People don’t realise how hard we are working behind the scenes and how tired we are. All I can say is try and look at the bigger picture.

“I’ve got players who want to play, they’re not asking me not to play, I’m making the decision to say ‘you need rest.’”

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The Charlton manager stated prior to the match that he would use the tie as a way to give players returning from injury some game time and to rest those who were in action four days earlier in the Burton.

“I think taking in to account we made nine changes, the lads did ok. They handled it well.”

Toby Stevenson, Dillon Phillips and Mark Marshall in particular all came in for praise from Bowyer.

“It’s good for me to see them playing against a good Doncaster starting XI who are in our league. Can I trust them? I learned valuable stuff.”

“Marshall has shown me that if and when I need him, he’s ready.

“His end product was outstanding. I know I can trust him and he can make something happen. He looked dangerous.”

Bowyer will be back in league action this weekend as he takes his side to Blackpool on Saturday before traveling to Portsmouth on Tuesday night.