Charlton Athletic: The club that keep defying the odds
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Last Updated: 03/11/19 7:41am
"If you keep defying the odds, is it us or is it the odds?"
That is the question posed by Charlton striker Lyle Taylor as his club yet again continue to rise above expectations. The Addicks have the smallest budget in the Championship and they were favourites for the drop, but have built on their League One play-off success and are more than holding their own in the second tier.
"We keep performing at a level that people say we're not capable of performing. Is it us performing at that level?" continued Taylor.
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"Or is it the fact that people are expecting so little of us? I don't know. I don't know where this team can go. Because this team can match anyone for effort, anyone. And that's just effort. When it comes to playing football, this team can match anyone for football as well. We can cut through teams the same way anyone else can.
"So we can only take care of ourselves and the only way of proving a point is to put points on the board. We will keep working hard and doing what we can to make sure that we can keep putting points on a board as consistently as we need to survive, the first port of call is to survive, whenever that may be. And after that, it will be to see how far we can go with this."
There were many that thought even getting promoted last season was a miracle in itself for a club that was in conflict between the owner and the fans. Taylor believes otherwise.
"I don't think we overachieved. I don't think promotion was an over achievement. I think promotion was about right. The way we did it was hard. That was the hardest way of possibly doing it, but we did it and that's all that matters."
Charlton assistant manager Johnnie Jackson offers a similar, but slightly alternate, view.
"It seemed like it was against the odds," he said of their Wembley success in May, when they came from behind to beat Sunderland. "When it all sort of died down and we were in the changing room at Wembley we sort of sat down and had a beer, we were just like, oh my god, like we actually pulled it off. It was that sort of feeling, we believed we could and I don't think many did.
"We kept telling ourselves and our players that you know, we can do it. But I don't think many believed us and then to actually do it and sit down and go - you know what? We said we do it and we do it. It made us immensely proud."
Charlton manager Lee Bowyer has never been in any doubt over what his side could achieve, and his words show how much he has driven his team forward.
They have already picked up 22 points from 14 games, when it took 29 games to surpass that amount last time they were at this level in 2015/16.
Their promotion-winning squad was also pulled apart and rebuilt in the summer, but the former Leeds and Newcastle player always believed they could compete.
"And don't be afraid, we're going to be just as good as them. We're going to surprise them. You have to believe in yourselves. Don't think you've come into a different division and we're way out of our league, because we ain't.
"It's going to be tough, and we're going to have to grind out results at times, but the group that I have down there, I can't speak highly enough of them. They give me everything every day on a training pitch. And then on a match day, they give me absolutely everything and that's all I ask."
Charlton host Preston, another surprise package this season, at the Valley on Sunday - live on Sky Sports Football.
The away side are the favourites, but who would back against Charlton defying the odds again? And then continuing to go even further.