Lee Bowyer believes Patrick Bauer’s promotion-winning goal hands Charlton a lifeline in their bid to retain their captain next season.
Bauer’s last-ditch prodded finish sealed Charlton’s 2-1 League One play-off final victory over Sunderland at Wembley on Sunday, pushing the Addicks back to the Championship for the first time in four years.
And now boss Bowyer has revealed Bauer’s goal has opened the door for Charlton to offer the 26-year-old a new deal at The Valley.
Bowyer expects a tough time in recruitment this summer at the cash-strapped London club, but hailed promotion as pivotal to those plans.
“We can go to Pat (Bauer) and offer Pat a contract now,” said Bowyer.
“We had to get promotion even to talk to Pat, because he was 100 per cent going to go to the Championship. We knew that.
“And Joe Aribo, I’m hoping he will now sign, and that he stays and keeps learning.
“We’ll have to rebuild, but that would always have been the case.
“But as regards building a squad, that’s going to be tough, because I don’t think we’ll have much money.”
Charlton so nearly shot themselves in the foot in front of 36,000 of their own fans at a raucous Wembley, the luckless Naby Sarr netting a fifth-minute own goal as Dillon Phillips failed to control a back-pass.
Ben Purrington turned in Lyle Taylor’s fine far-post cross to blank out that early aberration though, before skipper Bauer popped up with the dramatic winner.
Former Charlton midfielder Bowyer is yet to finalise a new deal to continue at the helm of his first club but still expects to be in charge next term.
Asked if he will still be at Charlton next season, Bowyer replied: “I can’t see why not, I haven’t done much wrong.
“I spoke to the owner yesterday, he rang to wish us luck for today.
“And he said we would speak very soon, so after the weekend.
“My phone will be off tonight and then in the next couple of days we’ll talk.
“The most important thing has been to see everyone come together again at the club. That alone was an achievement.
“I’m sure that we’re going to get an agreement. I hope we do.
“I have to stay in football now; it’s probably lucky the way I’ve come back into football.
“But after being away for five or six years, and having this taste of winning again, to then come back into the game and be around that feeling, to be involved in something so special like today, I want to stay in the game.”
Bowyer hailed his players for having the guts to shake off that disastrous opening and grind to victory.
“They could easily have gone under there once we gave that goal away,” he said.
“But they didn’t, they were brave, and they were men.
“Because you have to be brave and be a man to get on the ball after a mistake like that.”
Sunderland were left to swallow a seventh consecutive loss at Wembley, hot on the heels of their EFL Trophy penalties defeat to Portsmouth.
“We’ve had that horrible feeling twice in two months, in difficult circumstances,” said boss Jack Ross.
“So now the players have to use that as a driver and motivator for the future.
“We knew the significance of the day and to come out the right side of the result, and to lose in that manner was particularly painful.”