Charlton Athletic return to League One action this weekend, looking to build on their unbeaten run under new manager Nigel Adkins and they’ll need to find a way past fellow promotion chasers Sunderland if they are to keep up their playoff hopes.
Last time out, the Addicks defeated Doncaster Rovers to move to within three points of the top six, whilst their Easter Monday encounter with Lincoln City was postponed.
The Black Cats need a victory if they are to move back into an automatic spot, so there’s certainly a lot at stake at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.
Adkins will need to get his team selection spot on, and he could well aid Charlton’s chances of picking up a result if he unleashes Chuks Aneke from the off.
The 27-year-old has been a major source of goals for the Addicks, particularly under the recently-departed Lee Bowyer, so it’s certainly a surprise to see the £360k-rated dynamo named on the bench in both of Adkins’ lineups thus far.
No player has scored as many goals as Aneke this term, with the former MK Dons man finding the net 12 times. He’s also averaging the highest number of shots per game (2.3) in this squad, via WhoScored, proving to be a dangerous threat in attack.
Right before Bowyer left, Aneke bagged his 13th in all competitions against Wigan and it left the new Birmingham boss in awe. He told London News Online: “He was immense up there again today. He’s unplayable, on his day he’s unplayable. The only disappointing thing, if I’m him, is that he didn’t score more.”
That only makes Adkins’ decision to omit him recently a little more baffling.
Sunderland have the best defensive record in the division, having conceded only 29 times in 38 matches. And that’s exactly why Aneke must be unleashed as no other Addicks player has been a greater threat this campaign.
The former Arsenal graduate must start on Saturday afternoon.
AND in other news, Gallen heading for disaster over “important” Charlton “leader”…