Lee Bowyer laments schedule as Charlton knocked out of FA Cup
Charlton manager Lee Bowyer bemoaned the “ridiculous” schedule for lower-league clubs after his side were knocked out of the first round of the FA Cup, beaten 1-0 by Plymouth.
Luke Jephcott’s strike on the hour proved the difference between the two Sky Bet League One outfits and, while Bowyer was disappointed with some performances as the Addicks’ six-game winning streak came to an end, he is not sad that their attempt to win promotion back to the Championship has one less obstacle.
And with Covid-19 leading to a late start and a packed fixture list for the current campaign, Bowyer made his feelings clear on the situation.
“I’ve said that I never prioritise the cups,” explained Bowyer. “No disrespect, but I don’t think we will win it, and we’re playing in a ridiculous fixture schedule.
“Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, every week. They’re humans, not machines. I’m not upset we are out of the cup. I’m a little disappointed, but the league is the priority.
“On Tuesday we’re in the Papa John’s Trophy. That competition is not for us. It’s for the big clubs whose under-23s feature. We may get a little experience for our youngsters but apart from that, who cares about it? We don’t. It’s silly.
“And if that’s not enough some of them have to go and play for their countries. It’s crazy. I don’t get it.”
Bowyer went on to say that some of his players’ efforts in the loss were below what he expected from those hoping to feature in the team’s league campaign, which so far is off to a great start.
He added: “I gave them a chance to persuade me to use them in the next league game. But none of them did that.
“It was a good learning day for Charlie Barker. I told him that he cannot win every challenge. His enthusiasm is excellent, but he gave too many fouls away. But apart from a couple of minor things, he did very well.
“Some of the players on the pitch that have been making appearances in the league were poor. I told Marcus Maddison I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he’s just returning from an ankle injury. I gave him some leeway, but not the rest of them.
“We got into some great positions but gave the ball away so sloppily in the final third. Just not good.
“I believed this side was strong enough to win this game and they were strong enough to win it. We had a good midfield. A good back four. The disappointing thing is that we were sloppy and tried to complicate the game too many times.”