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IT'S NOW OR NEVER

05-Jan 05:14, by Ketts

Stephy Mavididi looks like being the only arrival in January, but somehow Karl Robinson has to turn the team's fortunes around.

It really is crunch time for Charlton's promotion hopes. From being safely ensconced in the play-off zone and within touching distance of the top two, they have tumbled down to ninth, eleven points adrift of fifth.

The immediate aim has to be to climb up to sixth and go on from there. Three points from the last eight games has dealt a body blow to the Addicks' promotion hopes.

Karl Robinson was looking to the January transfer window to provide salvation, but that now seems unlikely.†

Apart from Stephy Mavididi - a deal put in place by Katrien Meire prior to her departure to Sheffield Wednesday - Robinson is unlikely to see any further arrivals.

The manager was unusually downbeat at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, as he explained the situation:‎

"Weíre in a difficult place. I think we need to know whatís going on. Weíve been told they are looking to sell the club Ė I donít have much clarity on that.‎

"Iíve got six players I want to bring in and four would walk in this door tomorrow if they could.

"Richard (Murray])is my first port of call, but also due diligence is going on. There are so many things going on.

"I donít think anyone knows whether it (the takeover])is two weeks, four weeks or the end of the season. I want to get promoted, thatís what I want.

"‎Obviously, if you want to buy it (the club), buy it. Trust me, this is a great club to buy and youíll be a hero as soon as you walk through the door. And we can get on with business.‎

"In some ways there is clarity Ė but also none, if that makes sense. All I want is to bring in players and be successful. We only needed one or two before we got all these injuries Ė we probably need three or four now.‎

"Iíve played the young players Ė they have been given an opportunity Ė and I have spent very little, minimal in comparison to what has been done before.†

"Players have gone and Iíve dealt with it because it has been for the benefit of the football club. Iíve stuck to my principles and beliefs.‎

"Iíll never give up. My job is to do the best for this football club. I know what we need; itís clear now where I need cover and players. You could probably watch a few minutes and see what we need.‎

"Steve Gallen (head of recruitment) has worked around the clock. He has met agents, met players.†

"So we are just gearing up, maybe things happen quickly and we can press buttons. Thatís what weíre going to be hoping for.‎

"That (Mavididi) was done a few weeks ago.‎

"Iíve loved every second of being here. Iíve really put my heart and soul into it, so have my staff, but this club needs something quick. From what Iím hearing, we donít know where weíre at.‎

"Iíve had very clear guidance on everything going on (before the takeover situation). The fact people criticise X, Y and Z it has been Ďno, you canít have thatí, Ďyes you caní.†

"Iíve not been interferred with, nobody has picked the team. Everything they said they have done.‎

"Does it (the takeover) have an effect in January? Yes, 100 per cent. You only have one chance in modern-day football. We have 31 days. Iím not here to finish mid-table.‎

"If we donít sell it then youíve got to keep going. People still want to pay money and come to games. Weíve got a job to do.

"No one is going on loan until I get people in. Why? Why let Josh (Umerah) or Karlan (Ahearne-Grant) go on loan if Iím not too sure that I can bring anyone in?†

"At the moment we have got one fit striker in the whole of the building."‎

‎Charlton need to average 1.75 points per game to clinch a top six spot. That means winning 12, or winning 10 and drawing six of their remaining 21 games.

A far from impossible task, but given their current poor form, coupled with the current injury situation, it will be very difficult.

The task will be made harder if no fresh blood arrives to freshen things up.

Robinson will need all his motivational skills to inspire his beleaguered troops. There is no margin for error now, the winless streak has to end and the team need to string a few wins together.

Oldham‎ visit The Valley on Saturday, hovering just one place above the drop zone. The Latics have won only one game on the road since October.

Robinson's hopes took a further knock this week when inspirational centre-back, Jason Pearce, took aknock that will delay his return by a further two weeks.

Major summer arrivals, Mark Marshall and Ben Reeves, have thus far failed to deliver. ‎

The Addicks desperately need the duo to put their disappointing form behind them and produce the sort of performances that made them such coveted targets in the summer.

Robinson will be without Jake Forster-Caskey and Leon Best, who both picked up injuries against Gillingham. Best will miss the rest of the season.†

Charlton could look something like this; ‎

‎Amos; Konsa, Bauer, Sarr, Dasilva; Kashi, Aribo, Marshall, Reeves, Holmes; Magennis.

Subs: Phillips, Dijksteel, Sarr, Mavididi, Jackson, Ahearne-Grant,‎ Hackett-Fairchild.

‎The referee will be Lee Swabey from Plymouth.

This, quite simply, is a game‎ the Addicks have to win.

 

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