Charlton Athletic have announced on club media platforms that striker Miles Leaburn will miss up to five months due to a hamstring injury.
The Addicks struggled without Leaburn as they were knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two side Gillingham on Saturday. It was obvious that they were missing some firepower up top in Leaburn’s absence and failed to score as they’d eventually end up losing 2-0 to the League Two side.
Leaburn has scored seven times in all competitions this season and had begun to cement his place as a starter prior to going down injured in the first half in Charlton’s League One match with Cheltenham on Tuesday.
It was announced that the 20-year-old would be out for five months with a hamstring injury and the striker has undergone a successful surgery this weekend. The injury to Leaburn is certainly significant with fellow striker Chuks Aneke also sidelined until at least January.
Fortunately for the Addicks they do possess the League One top scorer in the form of Alfie May, however they have become over-reliant on their talisman at points and although he is in a hot vein of form currently, cannot do it all alone.
With the January transfer window just around the corner, it seems highly likely that bringing in a new striker will be top of the priority list. Currently sat in 10th place and seven points off of the play-offs, it is an issue which must be addressed if the club want to avoid mid-table mediocrity.
In an interview with London News Online, manager Michael Appleton outlined his January plans.
“[Leaburn] is going to be out probably for a sustainable period of the season, possibly for the rest of the season. He’s clearly gutted.
“He had the issue with his ankle pre-season but the severity of the injury – it was one we were hoping wouldn’t be the case, but it is. He’ll be looked after properly. He’s had his operation. He’ll get his treatment going forward and we’ll support him along the way.”
“Ultimately, you get judged by what you do at both ends of the pitch. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got players who defend the box and do that well, but goals win you games.
“Even if you concede one or two, if you get the right people at the top end of the pitch you give yourself a massive opportunity. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that’s an area we need to fill.”
After a disappointing result on Saturday, Charlton travel to Reading on Wednesday in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, Appleton will be hoping for an improved performance, something that is needed if they want to progress in the competition.
It was evident that Charlton struggled in the absence of Leaburn as they crashed out of the FA Cup. Although Alfie May gets most of the headlines, Leaburn has had a productive season so far and will only get better given his age.
It is a worrying time for the Addicks, with the gap between them and the play-offs growing in recent weeks. A reaction is needed in the coming weeks but they may struggle to find goals with the limited forward options currently. As Appleton has said, it is an issue which must be addressed in January.