Charlton manager Lee Bowyer believes his squad are crying out for January signings after they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Preston.
Former Charlton defender Patrick Bauer scored the winner for Preston after Josh Harrop’s superb strike cancelled out Andre Green’s early opener.
The Addicks have now won just one of their last 16 league matches and Bowyer stressed the need to bolster his squad this month.
“We need help, we have too many kids out there. No disrespect to them, they are trying their hardest but they are not ready for this,” Bowyer said.
“No one believes me, but you are witnessing it every week. They are not ready to play in this division, that’s the reality and the facts.
“They are all trying but I don’t think it’s fair on the kids to be playing. But we have no choice.
“We need to bring bodies in, that’s obvious. I know it, Steve Gallen (director of football) knows it and the chairman knows it.
“The sooner we start bringing bodies in the better because we need it. The players need help and they know it.
“A bit of help and a few more players coming back and we give ourselves a chance.”
Green – who played six games for Preston on loan from Aston Villa in the first half of the season – gave Charlton a shock early lead as he tapped in at the near post from Alfie Doughty’s cross.
Harrop was the standout player for North End and he equalised with a superb curling strike after 31 minutes, picking out the top corner from 18 yards.
Bauer, who joined Preston in the summer after four years at Charlton, headed in from Harrop’s corner seven minutes after the break to give the home side a deserved win.
Alex Neil admitted Preston’s form has not been stellar – having taken just nine points from their previous 11 matches – but is confident that they can be in the play-off mix at the end of the season.
“We have not been great but we have certainly not been crap,” Neil said.
“We have not lost our last three away games, we have been picking up points and then won a difficult game today.
“I think we have been a patchy team for the last couple of seasons for whatever reason. We now need to go though one of our good patches because if we do, we put ourselves into contention.
“Since the start of the season, even when we were up the top of the league, I’ve said come January if we are in and about the play-offs, that’s when it really counts and you have to kick into overdrive.
“I thought over the piece we were well worth the win. We were the better side for the majority of the game.
“It was a poor start, at that stage there were a lot of questions posed to the players in terms of have they got the mental toughness?
“Can you take that setback and go on? I think they did that.”