Without a win in four matches, Charlton have slipped to fifth in the Championship but Patrick McCarthy, whose last-minute goal salvaged a point at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday, believes Alan Pardew's side will be hard on the heels of the leaders West Bromwich Albion once their injured and suspended players return.
What he may have forgotten, in the excitement of scoring against his former club, is that but for the enforced absence of others he might still be in the reserves. Signed for 650,000 from Leicester last summer, the 24-year-old centre-half lost his place in September and has regained it only because Jonathan Fortune and Sam Sodje have been suspended.
He started for the first time in three months at Norwich on Boxing Day, but at Leicester Pardew felt he was Charlton's best player, even before his scissors kick grabbed the equaliser.
"It was difficult but I worked hard all the time I was not in the team and, hopefully, I have shown the benefits of that in the last couple of games," he said. "I'll be looking to keep my place now and re-establish myself in the team."
Andy Reid, Darren Ambrose and Svetoslav Todorov have been badly missed. "Andy Reid in particular has been superb for us," McCarthy said. "We are still looking for consistency but where West Brom have had the basis of a side from last year and Watford likewise, our gaffer has brought a lot in, maybe 15 players, and it takes time for things to gel. Once we get a few players back, hopefully we can be back on West Brom's tail."
McCarthy's goal cancelled out a 78th-minute header by Stephen Clem-ence that looked enough to give a patched-up Leicester, for whom Matty Fryatt was impressive, back-to-back home wins for the first time in 16 months after their Boxing Day victory over Ipswich.
Yet his goal was not one the Dublin-born player was inclined to celebrate, important though it was to his new team. "The draw was the right result," McCarthy said, "but I had a great relationship with Leicester, the club and the fans, and the move was nothing to do with me, so for that reason I did not want to celebrate."
Goals: Clemence (78) 1-0; McCarthy (89) 1-1.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Fulop; Stearman, Kisnorbo, McAuley, Mattock (Sheehan, 15; Wesolowski, 76); Kenton, N'Gotty, Clemence, Hume; Fryatt, John (Hayes, 22). Substitutes not used: Henderson (gk), A Chambers.
Charlton Athletic (4-2-3-1):Weaver; Bougherra, McCarthy, Fortune (Moutaouakil, 65), Powell; Semedo (Sam, 80), Holland; Varney, Zhi, Thomas; Iwelumo. Substitutes not used: Randolph (gk), Racon, McLeod.
Referee: S Mathieson (Cheshire).
Booked: Leicester Clemence; Charlton Iwelumo.
Man of the match: Fryatt.
Attendance: 23,667.Reuse content