They may have an eight-point deficit to overhaul in just eight games but Charlton goalkeeper Dillon Phillips isn’t ruling out automatic promotion just yet.
Second-placed Barnsley haven’t tasted defeat in 19 league games but draws in their last two outings meant that the Addicks have clawed two points back after beating Burton Albion and taking a point from Bristol Rovers in the same time.
The South Londoners would also have to leapfrog Portsmouth and Sunderland, the latter boasting a game-in-hand over the Addicks, in order to finish in the top two but Phillips says that stranger things have happened before in football.
“Anything can happen,” explain the stopper, who signed a contract extension recently that will keep him at the club until summer 2021.
“It’s eight points, anything can happen. We go into the next game. A little break now then we go into Bradford at home, hopefully take three points there, at home where we’re really good. Then just see what happens.
“It’s out of our hands. Just keep winning games and if teams drop points, they drop points. We’ll just take some good form into the play-offs or get into that top two. Whatever happens, happens, and we’re all be there and willing to fight for the team.”
The custodian was speaking after the goal-less draw at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, that was badly disrupted by the blustery weather in the southwest.
“Horrible conditions, probably the worst for football with the wind. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we knew it wasn’t going to be easy with the weather conditions being fine or how they were. Happy with a point, disappointed that we didn’t win but seven points in a week is a great week and we’re moving in the right direction.
“We did well today defensively. We had a goal disallowed that might not have been on another day. Just one chance was all we needed really, one clear-cut chance. They were putting bodies on the line, so were we. Probably a fair result in the end.”
The Addicks may well have lost were it not for a spectacular stop from Phillips midway through the first-period.
Jonson Clarke-Harris fired a free-kick at goal but Phillips managed to claw it out after diving to his left to preserve parity.
“It saw it late, either through the wall or over the wall, and luckily enough it held up in the pitch and I managed to claw it from behind me,” he explained.
“I was happy with it. That’s what I’m there to do, at the end of the day.
“We go through all the bits that they do and I saw the goal he scored against Gillingham. He’s obviously a good player, he’s scored six in the last six league games. He’s s threat for them and we’ve kept him quiet today so happy days.
“Another clean sheet for the team and for me personally so I’m happy with that.”
The South Londoners now have a fortnight to wait before their next fixture due to Saturday’s game at Wycombe being postponed because of international call-ups- but Phillips says the break has come at the right time.
“Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday took its toll on a few of the boys,” he said.
“That’s why, I suppose, the gaffer rotated things around. I think a well-earned break for all of those boys, running around like they do for ninety minutes. I think everyone needs it. We’ll be ready and raring to go at Bradford.”