LLOYD Sam laid down the gauntlet to their League One promotion rivals after Charlton saw off Southend on Saturday thanks to Deon Burton’s first-half header.

Leeds slipped up with a 2-2 draw at home to Huddersfield, allowing the Addicks to close the gap at the top to four points and Sam believes it could be sooner rather than later before Charlton hit the summit again.

Sam said: “I don’t see why we can’t catch Leeds because we’ve got to play them at home at some point this season. The way we are playing as a team makes me confident, everyone knows their role in the team and everyone is doing their job right.”

Charlton have Sam to thank for his cross which found Deon Burton for the winning goal in a second rate performance.

Sam admitted: “I wouldn’t say it was one of our best performances but we’ve come away with three points and we didn’t play as well as we have been at home. Today was like an away game which is not ideal but it’s not always about pretty football.”

Sam, like many at The Valley, is finding form again after a horror season last year. But the winger is seeking an extension on his contract, which runs out in the summer.

Sam said: “Everybody’s trying to put last season behind us but at the same time we are trying to make amends too. A lot of us had bad seasons last year but we are enjoying having the winning feeling around us. When you’re winning games you enjoy playing football and you enjoy every game.”

“We haven’t started talking about a new contract yet but I’m sure we will soon. At the moment I’m just concentrating on playing football and trying to get promoted. I’ve been here for ten years and I’ve got a great relationship with the fans so I’m happy,” he continued.

Charlton looked tired and fatigued as they laboured to a 1-0 victory on Saturday and Sam thinks the midweek win at the Withdean Stadium is to blame.

Sam said “We knew it was going to be a difficult game because Tuesday’s game against Brighton took a lot out of us.”

Southend had chances to grab a point at The Valley but ultimately Deon Burton’s tenth league goal of the season sealed Charlton’s ninth home win of the season.

Sam explained “People say Deon is not known as a goal-scorer but he’s getting on the end of everything. He’s good in the air and he’s good at linking up play as well. He’s got a lot of assists too so he’s been a massive player. He’s not very tall but he’s got a good leap and I seem to keep finding him.

The next team to visit SE7 this year are Millwall, on Saturday 19th December, in a massive South London derby for both clubs.

Sam said “Obviously we know the importance of a game like that. I don’t think we’ve played Millwall for a while so the fans are going to be fired up and so are we. But the main aim is trying to win every game and staying in the automatic promotion places.”