Curbishley finds strength in numbers

Charlton Athletic 1 Wigan Athletic 0
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The Independent Football

Despite this win over a willing but desperately limited Wigan giving Charlton their most successful start to a top-flight season for over half a century, Curbishley anticipates plenty of sleepless nights ahead.

Charlton listed a first-team squad of 37 players in their programme and Curbishley plans to add two before the transfer window closes. It is the largest squad in Charlton's history and Curbishley accepts he cannot keep everyone content.

Jonatan Johansson and Jerome Thomas made their displeasure known after being omitted at Sunderland last week. Dean Kiely, Matt Holland, Talal El Karkouri, Jason Euell, Francis Jeffers, Kevin Lisbie, Kelly Youga, Jon Spector, Gonzalo Sorondo and Darren Ambrose were all missing on Saturday.

"Footballers want contracts and money but mostly they want to play," Curbishley said. "If they are not playing they are knocking on the manager's door. There are grizzles.

"I have got the same problem as [Jose] Mourinho. I have enough players for two teams. I can't keep them all happy. I will have a few sleepless nights but I have created that and it is my problem.

"Arsène Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson deal with it because they win most weeks and the players not selected cannot grumble.

"It is different for us," Curbishley explained. "We needed a larger squad. We got into a bit of a mess last season with injuries and suspensions towards the end. The chairman is moaning about the wage bill, but now we have decent competition for places."

Curbishley will be reluctant to contemplate changes after this victory. Darren Bent ended an eventful week with the only goal, a far-post header from the midfield inspiration Danny Murphy's cross.

Bent scored twice on his Charlton debut, found himself summoned by England for the ill-fated Denmark match and followed up with this scoring home debut.

Envious Wigan lack a similar attacking figure while their predictable midfield created so little that the Charlton goalkeeper, Stephan Andersen, enjoyed a shot-free afternoon.

The Wigan manager Paul Jewell admitted: "We didn't have enough threat. Even if we had won 3-0 I would still be looking for a striker. We know we need to improve."

Goal: Bent (42) 1-0.

Charlton Athletic (4-5-1): Andersen; Young, Hreidarsson, Perry, Powell; Rommedahl (Johansson, 77), Murphy (Hughes, 84), Smertin, Kishishev, Thomas (Bartlett, 82); Bent. Substitutes not used: Myhre (gk), Fortune.

Wigan Athletic (4-5-1): Pollitt; Chimbonda, Henchoz, De Zeeuw, Baines; Teale (Taylor, 63), Francis, Bullard, Johansson, Mahon (McMillan, 45); Roberts. Substitutes not used: Walsh (gk), Jackson, Wright.

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).

Booked: Wigan Athletic Taylor.

Man of the match: Murphy.

Attendance: 23,453.