We must start keeping clean sheets again – Charlton defender Tom Lockyer

BY LOUIS MENDEZ

Tom Lockyer is desperate that Charlton start to keep clean sheets once again.

The Addicks have only had four shut-outs this season, the latest of which was seven games ago during a 3-0 win over Derby County.

The South Londoners have conceded twice in seven of their last nine games, the latest being a 2-1 defeat at Luton Town on Tuesday.

“For whatever reason we can’t seem to buy a clean sheet at the minute and it’s costing us,” said Lockyer, who signed from Bristol Rovers in the summer.

“It’s very frustrating, especially being a defender. We’re always going to create chances. We’re an expansive team. We’re always going to have opportunities in a game. It’s keeping them out at the other end that is our Achilles heel at the minute.

Tom Lockyer warms up before Luton v Charlton. Kyle Andrews

“We’re an expansive team, we’re going to create chances. It’s just about keeping a clean sheet at the other end. The clean sheets we have had, are when we have sat off them and let them have possession. When have a low block and have everything in front of us. It’s a bit more when we go after teams and get pulled around that we seem to be conceding a few more goals. We want to be that high-pressure team. We want to play on the front foot. No one wants to be camped in their eighteen-yard box. So, we have to learn both sides.”

Charlton’s six-game winless run has come amidst an injury crisis at The Valley – with 12 players unavailable to Lee Bowyer at Kenilworth Road.

The Addicks had dropped down to 17thin the Championship table after the midweek round of fixtures.

“It’s back against the wall but like the gaffer said in the changing room just then, it’s a long old season,” added Welsh international Lockyer.

Tom Lockyer in action during Charlton v Luton. Kyle Andrews

“We were under no illusions that we were going to be up there looking for promotion, even after the start we’ve had. If you go through a season without having a bad run then you’ve done very well and you’re going to be up there. We’re on a bad run at the minute, everyone knows that. But I’ve always said that winning is a habit and so is losing. We have to try not to make losing a habit for too much longer. The good thing about football is there’s a game in three or four days. There’s a chance for us to go and put it right now back at The Valley [against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday].

“You don’t want to make excuses because you build a squad for injuries, but I cant think of a time in my career where it’s ever been this bad. We’re walking wounded at the minute. Under any other circumstances I probably would have come off today but I had to stay on and do my bit for the team. That’s just like everyone, everyone is working hard to try and get back fit and help the lads out. It’s a case of patching yourselves up and getting out there and doing your best for the team. You build a squad for injuries and for suspensions. Throughout the season everyone is going to have to be used and play their part.

“No one likes losing, that’s what we’ve built in the changing room. Everyone is a winner. No one is happy when we’re losing. We all get a bit grouchy, we’re all at each other a little bit. You’re going to have bad runs in football and this is one of them. We just have to stick together and come out the other side.”

PHOTOS: KYLE ANDREWS

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