It’s tough at the top as leaders gear up for Owls

Big test: Charlton Athletic centre half Matt Taylor
Big test: Charlton Athletic centre half Matt Taylor
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CHARLTON Athletic are aiming to learn the lessons of a 4-0 FA Cup defeat by Fulham as they face the two Sheffield clubs in quick succession.

The League One leaders take on Wednesday at Hillsborough on Saturday and United at The Valley seven days later.

Manager Chris Powell has played down the importance of the clashes with two of his team’s promotion rivals.

Defender Matt Taylor says the Hillsborough game will be physical and different, compared to the knockout defeat against a Premier League outfit.

Midfield player Bradley Pritchard believes that the Addicks would do well to copy Fulham’s ruthlessness in front of goal.

It was only a fifth defeat of the season for Charlton, who are five points ahead of Wednesday.

Taylor, comparing the league challenges with the one of facing Fulham, says: “League One is a tough league and we’re got the two Sheffield games coming up, so it’s a massive month.

“It will be a totally different game at Sheffield Wednesday - a physical battle. But that’s what we’ve got to deal with, and hopefully if we perform as we have done so far in the league, we’ll be okay.”

Pritchard believes that 4-0 flattered Fulham: “We created chances at least so that’s another positive and I think there is something to take into our next few games.

“I think you can learn from it: be a lot more composed on the ball maybe, take chances and be more clinical. In our league, there is a lot more hustle and bustle and it is more fast-paced. They wouldn’t give you as much time as Premier League teams normally do or opportunities to play.”

Boss Powell says: “I don’t think the two Sheffield games will decide the title race, as after those two games there are still 20 to go, which is 60 points.

“I see the Hillsborough fixture as just another game in our season.

“Sheffield Wednesday have been very good at home and it’s up to us to be ready to implement our game plan and play our football.

“It is a game I’m looking forward to because you want to pit yourself against teams in and around you.

“We have some very good results against teams around us so far this season, so I want us to keep that going.”

The Owls drew 1-1 at Charlton, with Clinton Morrison their scorer.