CHARLTON finished the regular season with just two defeats in 21 matches after the turn of the year. Sunderland will know that, and they will know Lee Bowyer’s team has dangerous players running through the squad.

Chief football writer Paul Fraser has identified the players running through the spine of Bowyer’s team who Sunderland will need to keep a close eye on more than most at Wembley.


Naby Sarr

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer can change his team to include three defenders one week and then switch to a four the next. Regardless of what he has done this season, Sarr has tended to excel, particularly since the turn of the year.

Sarr has been strong in a back four or as part of a three and he had a big say in keeping seven clean sheets from Charlton’s final nine matches to see them climb up to third, above Sunderland, on the last day.

The former France youth international joined Charlton in 2015 after spells with Sporting and Lyon, while he had a spell on loan at Red Star too. The 25-year-old has the experience to cause problems for Charlie Wyke and Co.


Joe Aribo

This midfielder is more than capable of finding the net from the middle of the park. He likes to glide forward to join in with the attacks and often looks like the ball is glued to his feet because it is difficult for defenders to stop him.

Aribo has found his best form at exactly the right time and he is sure to cause Sunderland issues because he has added the goals as well as assists to his game this season. Charlton feel he is destined for bigger things.

The 22-year-old moved to Charlton after impressing as a teenager for Staines under Marcus Gayle. He is rated very highly at The Valley.


Lyle Taylor

There was more focus on the former Wimbledon man after the departure of top scorer Karlan Grant to Huddersfield in January. While Grant was always going to be a miss, Taylor has continued his excellent first season at the Addicks.

Taylor has ended up with 21 goals to show exactly why Sunderland pushed so hard to land him. He has looked settled playing under Bowyer and has clearly revelled in staying closer to his roots at the ripe age of 29.

The Sunderland back-line will have to keep a close eye on him. Not only is he quick, he has a fantastic eye for goal, holds the ball up and has a bit of bite about him too. His movement makes him a tricky customer for any defence – particularly at League One level.

Taylor has played here, there and everywhere but looks set to continue his goalscoring form for Charlton after leaving Wimbledon as the Dons’ record Football League scorer.