Charlton boss Lee Bowyer: Home advantage in play-off second-leg would make no difference

Lee Bowyer doesn’t believe that finishing fourth and earning home advantage in the second-leg of the play-off semi-finals will make much difference to Charlton.

The Addicks are still fifth in League One after victory at Gillingham made it nine wins out of twelve for the South Londoners, but will only head into next weekend’s final day clash against Rochdale with a realistic chance of leapfrogging Portsmouth or Sunderland if either side lose their game in hand in midweek.

“For me it doesn’t make much difference,” said Bowyer, after his side won at Priestfield for the first time since 1980.

“Some people say it’s better to play at home second but for me, when I played in the Champions League sometimes we played at home first, won 3-0, went away lost 2-0. For me it doesn’t make that much difference. We just want to keep winning games and see where we finish. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

“Over the moon with today,” added the Addicks boss, as first-half goals from Joe Aribo and Josh Cullen handed his side the three points. The shut-out at the other end was the sixth clean sheet the Addicks had earned in eight outings.

Charlton Athletic’s Josh Cullen (right) celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game

“I thought it was a real professional away performance. They didn’t really cause us many problems. The back three were solid out of possession and just mopped everything up. We moved the ball well when we won it back. Good to see two midfielders scoring, that’s good for us. We could have scored a few more if we had taken care, it could have been four or five.

“Everyone is working hard, from back to front. Igor (Vetokele) was very good with his work-rate against two centre-halves. It starts from the front when you’re defending. It’s good. We’re in a good place. We’ve got one more game to go in the league and I think we’re in a good place ready for the play-offs.”

Top-scorer Lyle Taylor and consistent centre-half Patrick Bauer were both out with minor niggles, but Bowyer confirmed this was just a precautionary move.

“They’ve not trained all week,” he revealed.

“Lyle said his groin felt a bit better yesterday. So did Pat with his knee. But we’re not gaining anything by risking them, we had to look at the bigger picture. It gives others opportunities for others to come in and stake a claim and show I can trust them when we do come to the play-offs.”

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