Charlton boss Lee Bowyer issues bold warning to Sunderland and League One promotion rivals and discusses Jonny Williams debut

Lee Bowyer is targeting automatic promotion with Charlton Athletic this season and believes they are capable of going on a long winning run.

Sunday, 6th January 2019, 8:29 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:36 pm
Tom Flanagan wins the ball in the 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic.

Sunderland, third in League One, drew 1-1 with Bowyer's Charlton at The Valley on Saturday, Luke O'Nien's second minute volley cancelled out by a Reece James own goal five minutes into the second half.

It was a fiercely competitive game, with Sunderland having to battle hard to withstand a steady stream of second half pressure from a Charlton side missing eight players through injury.

Proud Bowyer, a former Newcastle United midfielder, said: "I still believe now we will finish top two.

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"I still do because now we are only going to get stronger, we will probably bring in another couple of players through the window, we will get stronger as more players come back.

"There is nothing to stop us winning the next six, seven, eight, 10 games. Nothing.

"I believe in them, we have been on runs before and believe we will do it again.

“We’ve done that [on Saturday] with a weakened side again. It just shows you, if we can get a few more bodies back then we’ve got a very good chance on going on a very good run.

"It is going to be tough, this league is tough, everyone poses a different challenge to us but I have to say it was a great atmosphere.

“The crowd were unreal from start to finish. Even when we went behind the crowd did not stop singing, so praise for them, they played a big part in today’s performance as well.

"So I’m happy but I’m disappointed, it’s that in-between thing. At least we didn’t lose, we picked up a decent point because not many teams pick-up points against Sunderland.

"If I’m honest I think they were the better side first half but second half I think we came out and we dominated it.

"We pinned them in from the first minute and created a number of chances. I think overall we were the better side over the 90 minutes and I think we deserved to win.

“I just said that to the lads, I feel for them, they gave me everything and I’m so proud of them."

Former Sunderland midfielder Jonny Williams joined Charlton on a short-term permanent deal on Friday and he made his debut as a 68th minute sub on Saturday.

On his debut, Bowyer said: "That’s tough coming off the bench and trying to keep up with the speed of the game, the intensity out there was very high.

"I know, I’ve come off the bench before but I thought he was very good. You can see Jonny has got quality.

“I didn’t think it would be fair on him or the other lads, after the good result on Tuesday, to chuck him in there after just one training session.

"It wouldn’t have been fair but you saw glimpses of what he is going to bring to us and his end product is very good.

"I’m looking forward to it once he gets going and realises and understands how we play."