Lee Bowyer gives key update on injured Charlton striker ahead of Sunderland final

Lee Bowyer admits that Igor Vetokele remains a major doubt for Sunday's League One play-off final.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 11:34 am
Lee Bowyer says his side will be better for their second leg scare against Doncaster

Vetokele has been missing for almost a month with a thigh problem.

He last featured for Charlton on April 27th in a 2-0 win over Gillingham.

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Bowyer has a fit squad otherwise but admits Vetokele is struggling for fitness.

"The boys are all looking sharp and fit. We were hoping Igor could be training today, but that looks unlikely," he said.

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The Angolan striker has only five goals this season but his importance grew considerably after the January departure of Karlan Grant.

Grant struck up a fearsome partnership with Lyle Taylor but left to join Huddersfield Town.

Vetokele's form improved over the spring period and he spoke in April of his encouraging link-up with Taylor.

His absence would leave Bowyer with a conundrum.

Josh Parker has deputised but is yet to score for the Addicks since his January move from Gillingham.

He did, however, win praise for his performance against Doncaster Rovers, particularly in the first leg.

Bowyer is confident that his side can step up to the challenge at Wembley on Sunday and believes the drama of that second leg at the Valley will serve his young players well.

He added that Charlton's famous play-off win over Sunderland 21 years ago would not be something he looks to use to his advantage.

"We can’t use what happened 21 years ago," he said.

"It’s a unique day. It’s about how the players handle the occasion. Sunderland have an advantage because they’ve played at Wembley this season, but we took the lads there yesterday to take in their surroundings.

"The occasion got to us a bit in the second leg so that’s put our younger players in better stead for Sunday. The atmosphere and the noise affected a few of them, but now they’ve had that experience and they will be ready for Sunday, for sure."