Lee Bowyer admitted that the busy festive schedule is starting to catch up with his Charlton side after they slipped to a Boxing Day defeat at Coventry City.
Jordy Hiwula headed the Sky Blues into the lead just before the interval only for Darren Pratley to cancel it out just before the hour mark with his first goal in Charlton colours.
The Addicks were much-improved from a disappointing first-half after the interval but Tom Bayliss slid a late winner home for the hosts, to end a run of nine games without a win in all competitions for Mark Robins’ outfit.
“It takes a toll,” admitted Bowyer, with his side set to go again this Saturday away at fellow-promotion hopefuls Barnsley.
“We haven’t got many people to bring in and out now. We’re down to the bare bones. We’ve got kids on the bench left, right and centre. Mark Marshall is the only senior player on the bench. It’s hard. We played three days ago and now we’ve got to play in three days’ time again.
“To get to where we are, the lads are doing unreal. We ain’t got the luxury of what other sides have got. We’re all digging deep. It is tough but we’ll out this behind us and we’ll go again against Barnsley.
“I know I’ll get a good reaction because I’ve got a great bunch of lads in there. They’re all fighting. They’ll give me everything until the end like they always do.”
“I thought it was a scrappy game,” added the Charlton boss after the defeat at the Ricoh Arena.
“Bad pitch. We tried to pass. It just wasn’t happening for us today. Tried to change it at half-time, flattening off and play two wingers. Maybe they could make something happen. The disappointing thing is we’ve conceded two poor goals and left with nothing.
“We can’t keep doing that. Blackpool was the same. We brought it back to 1-1 and looked more dangerous. We started to make things happen. They nicked one at the end and we ended up with nothing.
“We’re all disappointed. We had a good opportunity to close the gap again. It wasn’t meant to be but we’ve got a long way to go.”