Guy Luzon claimed that he had to rest key players for Charlton's defeat at Crystal Palace because the game at Cardiff this Saturday is more important. Despite the efforts of Kennedy, Ahearne-Grant and McEleny, the Charlton attack was woefully lightweight and by the time Gudmundsson, Watt and Kashi came on it was too late.
So there will be considerable pressure on whatever team Luzon selects for Saturday, to come home with some sort of result. He will of course be without Diarra who will be suspended following his sending off so Bauer will return alongside Barr. Up front, injuries rule out Makienok, Reza and Ceballos and there is some mystery about the status of Vetokele. Is he injured? Is he unfit? Is he on the verge of a loan to Bolton? Whatever the story, it is hard to argue for his selection at present ahead of Ahearne-Grant who at least looked a bit pacy at Selhurst Park while Kennedy and McEleny struggled to make any impact.
In their first eight games of the season, Cardiff have played seven of the teams Charlton have played so a comparison can be made which shows Cardiff three points better off. In fact, before their home defeat 0-2 by Hull, they were in second place. Last Saturday their surprise 1-2 defeat at Rotherham saw them drop out of the top six. However, this defeat might have been avoided if goalkeeper Marshall had not swung a punch at Matt Derbyshire and thereby conceded a penalty and been sent off. Even so, Cardiff only lost through a 90th minute own goal. Marshall's place will no doubt be taken by Simon Moore.
There will be a battle of the giants in the Charlton penalty area as leading scorer Joe Mason will be partnered by Kenwyne Jones or on-loan Sami Ameobi. Bauer and Barr will miss the defensive presence of Makienok at set pieces. Craig Noone is still at Cardiff and, although he hasn't yet become the new Craig Bellamy, he is a good player at Championship level and will surely have an impact.
This game looks a lost cause for Charlton. However, it looked a lost cause last December when, playing with ten men after Callum Harriott had been sent off, Charlton managed to rescue an 88th minute point through Gudmundsson's wonder strike. And in March things didn't look much brighter in Cardiff as we trailed to a Macheda goal and lost Stephen Henderson through injury. Nevertheless, Watt weaved his magic and Buyens scored an 87th minute penalty to win the game. So anything is possible but, at the moment, it is hard to see where a victory will come from until the fitness, form and confidence of August return.