By Richard Cawley
Ben Amos is confident Charlton Athletic’s season can be lovely jubbly this season – even though they have lost a great entertainer in Ricky Holmes.
The 30-year-old winger, who dressed up as Derek Trotter from TV comedy series Only Fools and Horses for the players’ Christmas party, has traded clubs after completing his move to Sheffield United on Monday.
Holmes had six goals in 22 League One outings for the Addicks this season. He was their standout performer in the previous campaign as he hit the back of the net 13 times.
“Everyone knows about Ricky’s ability,” said goalkeeper Amos, on a season-long loan from Bolton. “It’s an opportunity for others to come in and prove themselves, that’s the way I see it.
“I don’t think you can begrudge Ricky for wanting to play at a higher level. Sheffield United are in touching distance of the Premier League. At his age, I fully understand his reasons.
“We have got other very good attacking wide players and the gauntlet is laid down to step up and do what Ricky has done in the past.
“We’re not short in those areas. Stephy [Mavididi] has just come in as well [on loan from Arsenal] so we have got plenty of options. Hopefully those lads come in and do well.”
Tariqe Fosu has missed the last 12 matches with a quad injury but is set to return soon.
The summer signing from Reading had bagged seven goals in 16 League One outings – his pace and finishing has been missed in a Charlton squad hardly overflowing with goals.
“It is not fair to expect him to be at those levels as soon as he comes back,” said Amos, 27. “He has been out for six or seven weeks, so we have to manage expectations a bit.
“I’m not saying he can’t come straight back in and make an impact, but there are others more than capable of helping us get results.”
Takeover talks continue to rumble along behind the scenes with Addicks manager Karl Robinson unable to bring in permanent signings unless owner Roland Duchatelet sells up.
Amos had been at Bolton Wanderers while they were under an embargo blocking the signing of players.
“The only effect external stuff has on us is when players are sold,” said the former Manchester United junior. “The rest of the time the manager is drilling into us is controlling what we can control – we can’t control what is going on above us.
“We need to focus on what we need to do. All the rest is noise at the moment.
“We’re definitely good enough to get in the top six. Our injury situation has been well-documented. Eight of our usual starting 11 have been injured and that is not going to help any team.
“But those boys are coming back to us and we’re picking up results again of late. I see no reason why we can’t push on now.”
Charlton have kept three clean sheets in their last five fixtures, including a disciplined shutout of free-scoring Wigan at the DW Stadium.
“It’s our job to keep the ball out of the net,” said Amos. “I’m happy when we manage to do that but it is definitely a team effort, starting from the front lads. You can’t keep clean sheets without those boys in front of us.
“It gives us the platform to get and get results. That’s been the focus. It is not always pretty but it has got us back on track.
“Everyone knows if we strong a good few results together that we can shoot up the league. We had a bad run of form but have managed to stabilise things.
“The fact we are playing Saturday to Saturday in the next few weeks will help. You don’t want to overload those players coming back. Someone like Harry Lennon has not played a lot of football since he came back from injury and that needs to be managed.”