Charlton are ‘ahead of schedule’ this season according to Lee Bowyer despite their recent slump in form.

From occupying the play-off spots earlier in the campaign a current winless run of nine matches has seen the Addicks plummet to 17th in the league, just six-points from the bottom three.

Despite their current plight, Bowyer felt they are still overachieving in the division with injuries compounding a side with the smallest budget in the division.

“Let’s be realistic, we are ahead of schedule,” he said.

“We are ahead of where we are meant to be, we’re not in the bottom three, we are competing in every game with half our squad out.

“When we start getting our squad back we’ll start winning games because that’s what we do.”

There’s undoubtedly an injury crisis at The Valley with as many as 12 first team players currently sidelined. Despite the number improving each week the manager admits it’s had an effect on his side’s moral as they prepare for Friday night’s fixture against Hull at The Valley.

“I need to pick them up now, they’re at rock bottom, they’re hurting, they’re not used to losing games, neither am I, the most important thing is we keep battling and something will go our way.

“But there’s no getting away from the fact our hands are tied.

“We keep seeing the same names on the board to choose from and it’s not getting easier.

“Our quality was there in the early stages of the season, but with 12 players out of any squad, even Barcelona would find it difficult.

“We have the smallest budget and we need our players to be fit, even then it’s difficult, at the start of the season we had to fight for every point, and now when you come down to bare bones it becomes harder.”

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