CHARLTON boss Chris Powell has denied Saturday’s trip to promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday is the Addicks’ biggest game of the season so far.

The leaders head to Hillsborough five points clear of third-placed Wednesday, with Sheffield United a solitary point ahead of their Steel City rivals in second.

A positive result for Charlton over the Owls will not only strengthen their position as title favourites, but also give them a major psychological advantage over Gary Megson’s side in the race for automatic promotion come May.

But despite the high stakes and significance of this weekend’s encounter, Powell feels the match is not the biggest challenge his squad have faced in 2011/12.

He said: “No, Bournemouth at home was and I will always say that because that was the first game for seven new players playing at their home ground.

“They had to make a statement together, which they did, and it has carried them through to where they are right now.

“It is a big game on Saturday.

“They’re all big, I know people will be looking at it as first versus third and then the following week we are playing against Sheffield United.

“It is a game we will be ready for, we’ve had some good games throughout the season so far and this is another one for us to really say to people we are ready for these sort of games.”

The League One title has bunched up at the head of affairs in recent weeks and Powell also added this didn’t come as any big surprise.

He said: “It was always going to be like that with regards to how the league is with the Christmas period and all the games over that and teams winning and losing.

“It is always going to be a tight league, all leagues will be. It has happened in the Premier League and in the Championship, where initially Manchester City and Southampton were ahead.

“That’s just how seasons go, it is up to us to manage ourselves in each and every game and look for three points, as we always do, and do our best to remain in the position we are in.”

Sheffield Wednesday will include a familiar face in their ranks at the weekend, a man who comes from Portugal and doesn’t think that much of Millwall.

Powell said: “Jose Semedo was a tremendous character and player for this football club who did very, very well.

“I suppose it was a fitting way for him to finish here by being our player of the year last year.

“But Jose always had and wanted to exercise his right to see what was out there, which is his right and I always said that.

“I was keen to keep him within the squad but as it turned out his advisors and himself wanted to see what was there.

“Sheffield Wednesday obviously gave him a route to go and play and he took it.

“That is his priority and he is a fantastic man, a good trainer who always wanted to do well.”

The Valley chief added: “He learnt English straight away, which is always important for players from abroad, and I will always remember him fondly when I played alongside him but also when I managed him last year.

“He has gone, he is playing regularly and doing well, which I’m pleased about because he is a good man and has got a good family.

“But he has moved on, which footballers always do, and I’m sure he will be looking at this as a big game.

“He has already played against us at The Valley and got a good reception, but he is an opponent now and we obviously want to get one over on him.”

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