Charlton Athletic bolstered their promotion hopes with an emphatic victory over Plymouth Argyle earlier this week, with the three points moving the side up into the playoff zone.
It also stretched their unbeaten run to ten games, which could prove to be a game-changer when the post-season swings around as they are proving to be undefeatable right now.
And Nigel Adkins deserves plenty of credit as he has continued that run of form despite taking over from Lee Bowyer last month.
On Tuesday night, he made a bold call to axe – or rest – one of his star performers, Ryan Inniss and evidently, it paid dividends as they kept a clean sheet on their way to a storming 6-0 victory.
Having signed in the summer, the 25-year-old has endured a campaign blighted by injury and after missing 27 straight league games, including Adkins’ first match in charge against AFC Wimbledon.
But he stepped in to keep a clean sheet against Doncaster Rovers, looked just as solid against promotion rivals Sunderland and Ipswich struggled to score past him, too.
Therefore to drop him in midweek was certainly a major call to make with him rounding back into form himself.
Speaking after clinching the 6 foot 5 titan in the summer, Bowyer waxed lyrical about his ability to the club’s official website, he said:
“It has been difficult as there are not many right-footed centre-halves out there but we have managed to get a very good one. Ryan is a winner, it is important when you have players like that at the back, and he’s a leader, an organiser and in that centre-half position that is what we were looking for.”
As per WhoScored ratings, the 25-year-old colossus (7.33) is only second to Jayden Stockley (7.48) and is also proving to be a huge aerial threat in this side, again ranking behind the target man striker (9.8) for aerial duels won (6.8) this term.
In his place, Adkins opted for Norwich City loanee Akin Famewo and he delivered alongside skipper Jason Pearce.
The 22-year-old gem was graded amongst the Addicks’ star performers with a 7.6 rating, better than the rest of the backline and only bettered by the goalscoring Stockley.
Famewo was a commanding presence, recording a game-high three blocks, putting his body on the line to deny Argyle a goal despite his side romping to an easy victory.
Whilst the young defender also put in four clearances and two interceptions, on top of winning 100% of his battles in the air, as per SofaScore.
The decision to rest Inniss for Famewo certainly turned out to be a blinding call from Adkins, and that’ll be good to know should the former Palace graduate pick up another injury or if further rotation is needed.
AND in other news, Addicks outcast fired Nigel Adkins a timely reminder this week…