Charlton boss Lee Bowyer reveals what Sunderland can expect at The Valley in League One clash
Sunderland will have to put an end to Charlton Athletic's impressive home form if they are to break into the automatic League One promotion spots this weekend.
League leaders Portsmouth and second-place Luton Town take a break from the league and are both in FA Cup action.
It means Sunderland have the chance to leapfrog the Hatters into second, provided they can end Charlton’s five-game winning run at home - their best run on home soil since the 2011-12 campaign.
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer, linked with a move for ex-Sunderland midfielder Jonny Williams, is expecting a tough afternoon against Sunderland at The Valley but is confident his side can extend their winning run.
The hosts are fifth, just four points behind promotion rivals Sunderland.
“It’s going to be tough but that stat just shows how well we do at home,” said Bowyer.
“We’re a very good side at home, we have good support at home.
“The place is becoming a bit of a fortress.
“It’s a tough place to come and play with the combination of the fans and the players, it’s good.
“We definitely look forward to home games.
“Sunderland will be a different test and we’ll respect them like we do every other team. If we do things right and we do what we’re good at then I think we’ve got a very good chance.
“When you play football that’s what you want, you want a good atmosphere. Players are entertainers, that’s what you are and the bigger the crowd, the more noise, the more they get out of players.
“Sunderland have 30,000 odd at home and they take a lot away.
“They’ll bring a good crowd but we have a good crowd as well, so it will be competition on guessing who will be singing the loudest and it will be a competition on the pitch and who wins their individual battles and wins the game at the end.”
Charlton will welcome the return of Chris Solly from suspension. Ben Reeves was subbed in Tuesday’s win at home to Walsall.
Bowyer said: “We know it’s a hamstring injury but we don’t know the extent and how bad it is.
“Hopefully if he’s out it won’t be too long and he won’t be the six weekers we’ve had.
“I think the nearest person we’ve got coming back (of the long-term injuries) is maybe Josh Cullen who might be the end of the month.
“The rest of them are long term. I think Josh is the closest one apart from George Lapslie, he won’t be okay for Saturday but maybe the game after with his concussion.”