MEL Sterland is refusing to be downbeat despite seeing his beloved Sheffield Wednesday slip up again in the battle of the League One heavyweights.
A trademark free-kick from Johnnie Jackson condemned the Owls to their first defeat at Hillsborough in the 2011/12 campaign.
To compound Wednesday’s woes, rivals Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United also won, meaning Gary Megson’s men are four points adrift of the second automatic promotion spot.
But ex-Owls great Sterland is backing the team not to dwell on the Addicks setback and to bounce back immediately at home to Hartlepool United this weekend.
He agrees with Megson’s assessment that Charlton will go up as champions and believes Wednesday are locked in a four-way battle for second place.
“I think we will still be there or thereabouts come the end of the season and Saturday’s result has not changed my opinion,” Sterland told The Star. “Charlton are a very good, well-organised side and that’s why they are top of
the league. We were beaten by a better side but I’m sure Gary [Megson] and the players can’t wait for the next game.
“There is a long way to go. It is marathon not a sprint and there is a lot of football still to be played. It is not all doom and gloom. We are in a great position.
“Gary will be disappointed to have lost that game but, having played with him, I know he will be positive with the players, keep a smile on their faces and will be focusing on the next game.”
United visit the Valley on Saturday and Sterland is tipping Charlton to edge that top-of-the-table clash.
He said: “Gary is 100 per cent right when he says Charlton will win the title. The main thing from our point of view is to get promotion. It doesn’t matter how we do it, whether it is automatically or through the play-offs, just so long as we go up.”
Meanwhile, Wednesday have sold out their 2,200 allocation for the FA Cup fourth-round duel with Blackpool on Saturday January 28.