Charlton manager Les Reed is to hold crisis talks with each of his players to convince them they can still beat the drop.
There was little evidence that this might happen on the pitch at Reading yesterday where Steve Coppell’s side moved up to eighth with a straight-forward 2-0 victory over the Premiership’s bottom side.
Seol Ki-Hyeon and Kevin Doyle supplied the goals but the margin of victory could have been wider had not Addicks goalkeeper Scott Carson pulled off saves and referee Graham Poll ignored strong penalty claims.
Charlton produced little of note themselves and Reed, who stepped up from the coaching staff to replace the sacked Ian Dowie earlier in the week, knows he has a major task on his hands.
And the Football Association’s former technical director has decided that sit-downs with each player is the best way to build up confidence that was plainly lacking at the Madejski Stadium.
He said: “There is a massive job to be done in terms of getting the players to believe we can get out of it. They are determined enough but it is when things go wrong for you on the pitch that all of a sudden doubts come in.
“The biggest thing now is getting the commitment from everybody to say a) yes it can be done and b) let’s get down to it and work hard.
“I am going to talk to the players as individuals about their games and specific things we need to put right. If I sit down with a player and discuss what he needs to do then that way the whole squad buys into the next step.”
Reed also voiced concerns about his players’ fitness after they were out-muscled by a Reading side that is not exactly filled with giants.
He said: “We were out-powered by Reading and we have got to stand up and deal with that. We have got to get fitter. There needs to be a bit of grit and determination about our performances when we haven’t got the ball.”
Reading never looked back after Seol headed them in front in the 19th minute to net his third goal since a summer switch from Wolves.
Charlton had more of the ball after the break but were doomed once Doyle capitalised on a lucky break when Steve Sidwell mis-hit a shot into his path.
He said: “Siddy is claiming the assist. He got a bit of back-check on it and everything, he is saying. I saw him scuffing it and just tried to get to it as quickly as possible.
“A couple of their players kept me on-side and I got there in time to clip it over the ’keeper.”
That took his Premiership tally to six and followed his first goal for Ireland, a midweek header against San Marino, and a clincher in the 3-1 win over Spurs last week.
He said: “It has been a great week for me personally and three wins as well, which was important as both Reading and Ireland had been on bad runs.
“To get that winning feeling and scoring goals is a great buzz and what you enjoy playing for. The kit-man has told me I have as many goals now as I did at the same stage last season, which I hadn’t realised. I scored 18 in the Championship last season.
“I didn’t expect to get to six this quickly in the Premiership but I’ll take it and hopefully I can get a few more. If we keep playing well they should come.”