Hawks brought Chambers-Parillon back on loan to help avoid FA Cup ‘embarrassment’ at Charlton Athletic
Due to injuries and suspensions, boss Paul Doswell was faced with being able to only name two outfielders on his bench for the glamour first round tie against Pompey’s League 1 rivals.
Midfielder Billy Clifford is serving a one-game suspension at The Valley while Paul Rooney has been struggling with tendonitis in an Achilles for over a month. That leaves just Jake McCarthy and Oscar Gobern as fully fit midfielders for the trip to three divisions higher Charlton.
Chambers-Parillon impressed on his debut in a 3-0 National League South win at Ebbsfleet last December, but a lack of games and going down with Covid-19 contributed thereafter to only fleeting game time before a stop-start season was eventually null and voided in mid-February.
‘He was on a three-month loan and he only played two or three times,’ said Doswell. ‘He’s someone I really liked - he did really well at Ebbsfleet.’
Chambers-Parillon will go straight into the squad at Charlton and could well start. He is not short of match fitness having just finished a loan spell at National League North strugglers Gloucester City.
‘Leon couldn’t wait to come back - he told me he had unfinished business here,’ Doswell explained. ‘He’s been in and around the first team scene at Oxford for over a year but he needs to play games and he needs to convince Oxford he can play in their first team.
‘We needed to get someone in, we couldn’t have turned up at Charlton with just two outfield subs - it would have been embarrassing. As it is, we’ll only have three outfield subs. We’ve only got 15 players and that includes Leon.’
Elsewhere, strikers Tommy Wright (suspended) and Alex Wall (injured) are also out while keeper Ross Worner (hip tear) and loanee centre half Manny Adebowale (groin) will also be missing at The Valley.
Right-back Benny Read is another casualty. He was getting his fitness back after a shoulder operation and was being lined up for a loan spell at Southern Leaguers AFC Totton to help with match fitness when he suffered a hamstring injury.
Wall is facing ‘six to eight’ weeks out with a ruptured ankle ligament, with Doswell considering bringing in a striker on loan in the meantime.
In addition, Rooney has been struggling to train. He started at Chelmsford last Saturday but was replaced at half-time with Clifford, who impressed as Hawks came back to win 3-2 thanks to a Jake McCarthy hat-trick.
‘I played Roons at Chelmsford to get him match fit,’ revealed Doswell. ‘I played him for 45 minutes at Hungerford at centre half - you can get away with it there but not really in midfield.
‘The only way you’re going to get fit is by resting, but if a footballer rests he loses all his fitness.’
Doswell, who can name up to nine subs at Charlton with five allowed to be used, added: ‘Losing Tommy and Billy to suspension are massive blows.
‘As I see it, we (the management) and the players have done our jobs in getting the club through to the first round.
‘Saturday is about the players and I’m more disappointed for those who can’t play who are missing out on something that potentially only comes around once a year.
‘Three or four of them would have been guaranteed starters. Tommy Wright was desperate to play, and he would have done well - he wouldn’t have stopped running.’
Clifford returns for next Tuesday’s NLS trip to Tonbridge Angels while Wright is back for the following Saturday’s home game with Maidstone United.
Clifford, though, is just one more booking away from another one-game suspension. Striker James Roberts is another on four cautions, with one more triggering a one-match ban.