Lee Bowyer reveals Charlton injury crisis ahead of Sunderland's season opener

Lee Bowyer is sweating on the fitness of several first team players
Lee Bowyer is sweating on the fitness of several first team players

Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer has confirmed that he will be without several first team players for the season opener at Sunderland.

Bowyer, who will bring his squad to the Stadium of Light in a 12:30pm kick-off on Saturday, is sweating on the fitness of several key players after an injury-ravaged pre-season campaign.

Ex-Sunderland target Lyle Taylor could miss the clash at the Stadium of Light

Ex-Sunderland target Lyle Taylor could miss the clash at the Stadium of Light

And the former Newcastle United man has admitted that fitness issues will affect his squad selection - while he will also observe the Black Cats and tailor his squad accordingly.

Previous reports have suggested that the Addicks could be without as many as five key players for their clash on Wearside, and that number could well rise.

Tariq Fosu, Igor Vetokele, Billy Clarke and Ben Reeves are all major doubts, while there are also question marks over the fitness of Darren Pratley and several other first team players who have been carrying knocks.

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Such issues will obviously effect Bowyer's selection - as too will the setup of Jack Ross' new-look side, who the Charlton manager plans to watch this week.

Speaking to Charlton's official website about his opening day selection, Bowyer said: "It depends on who is fit. I know certain players I can’t use because of fitness but I’ve got a very good idea.

"A lot of it will depend on what I see from Sunderland. I’ll try and look at stuff from them during the week and then that might make the odd decision different to what I might be thinking now."

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One player who could be missing for the trip to the North East is striker Lyle Taylor, who was the subject of interest from Sunderland earlier this summer.

Bowyer confirmed that the striker is a doubt ahead of the game and that no risks will be taken over his fitness.

"It [the extent of Taylor's injury] is something we won’t know until definitely after the weekend," he added.

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"We’ll see what happens on the treatment he gets over the weekend. If everything goes well there, we’ll look to get him into training at some stage during the week.

"If it doesn’t then we won’t. We won’t be taking any risks with anyone. We’d be silly to, especially with the amount of injuries we’ve got to players already.

"So we won’t be taking no risks. I won’t be rushing him because it’s a long season."