Lee Bowyer had a lot of praise for Krystian Bielik after Charlton’s win over Barnsley on Saturday, but he also had rather worrying news on the injury front.
Bielik was coming back from a calf strain over the weekend, making his first start since the beginning of September. The Arsenal loanee made a return to his usual centre-back role, after playing defensive midfield in some of Charlton’s early games of the campaign.
It doesn’t get much better for a centre-back than keeping a clean sheet, and that’s exactly what Bielik did in the 2-0 victory. However, he had to come off in the 82nd minute with cramp. Manager Bowyer gave his thoughts on the performance afterwards, as well as his assessment of the defender’s fitness.
“Krystian raised the game so well for someone so young,” he said. “He doesn’t panic. He makes me panic at times because he dribbles past people and I’m thinking “don’t do that!” but he does it and that’s the confidence of the lad.
“He got cramp at the end. We’ve got to be careful with him. That’s what he did the first time he started playing for us – got cramp, cramp, cramp and then he pulled his calf. We’re going to have to watch him. I don’t know if he’ll be able to play Tuesday. I thought he was outstanding. The whole back-four. Outstanding.”
It’s a bit of a concern that Bielik is having trouble with cramp after every game, particularly if that’s then leading to serious injuries.
Perhaps Charlton need to experiment with playing him a little less often, but if he’s playing well then they won’t want to make changes. It’s always the same problem with the Polish u19 international though, he impresses then gets injured.
The League One side have a game against Oxford United on Tuesday, then another away to Rochdale on Saturday. We’ll see how Bowyer decides to utilise the Arsenal man.