Charlton Athletic find themselves in an unprecedented relegation battle in League One, having failed to win in 15 matches in all competitions across three different coaches.
Michael Appleton was in charge of the Addicks for the first 12 games of this unwanted run but a 3-2 defeat at home to Northampton Town back in January was the final nail in the 48-year-old’s coffin as he was dismissed less than an hour after the result.
Caretaker boss Curtis Fleming took over on an interim basis for two matches and guided the side to a 1-1 draw away at Blackpool and a 1-0 loss at home to title-chasers Derby County before former Southampton boss Nathan Jones was named as Appleton’s permanent successor in the dugout.
The Welshman’s tenure got off to a dismal start on Saturday afternoon as Charlton Athletic suffered a 2-0 defeat away at Reading. Femi Azeez, who was linked with a move to Plymouth Argyle during the January transfer window, bagged a brace for the Royals to dampen the mood around Jones’ arrival at The Valley.
The Addicks have a tough run of fixtures on the near horizon, facing a home bout with Lincoln City tonight, followed by gruelling clashes with Bolton Wanderers, Portsmouth and Derby which could leave the club inside the relegation zone, particularly since 21st-place Port Vale have just appointed Darren Moore as head coach on a five-and-a-half-year deal.
Nevertheless, Charlton have been handed a major injury boost in the race for survival as Jones provided an update on the fitness of some of his players who have been absent in recent weeks, including Chuks Aneke and Michael Hector.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s clash with Lincoln, the gaffer said [quotes via club media]:
“I want as many metaphorical headaches as I can in terms of having a lot of strong players available.
“We’ve got Chuks coming back, Panutche coming back and Hec’s not far off as well. It gives us real good depth and everyone else is fit so it’s a difficult choice to pick the 11 and just as difficult to pick the bench. We want those conundrums.”
Panutche Camara has been missing in recent times for Charlton Athletic but came off the bench at the weekend during the defeat to Reading which was a boost for the club as the Ipswich Town loanee has been absent since pulling his hamstring back in November.
Now, both Aneke and Hector could be coming back into the squad very soon, and it seems like the former may even be in with a shout of returning to action at home tonight as the Imps come to town.