After Tuesday evening's dismal display against Preston few Charlton supporters will head for the Valley with much optimism this weekend. The performance against Preston was the worst at home for many years and the team were leaderless, lightweight and frighteningly low in confidence. This is perhaps not surprising given that at least six of the starting line-up would not have been in the team if the whole squad had been fit.
On Wednesday night Brentford travelled up to Wolverhampton and won 2-0. This was their fourth win of the season but their first against a team above them in the table - their previous victories were over Rotherham, Preston and Bristol City. The three points moved them up to 15th position.
This reflects a disappointing start for Brentford who last season reached the play-offs before falling to Middlesbrough. They famously parted company at the end of the season with their impressive manager Mark Warburton who, despite his success on the field, was not able to convince owner Matthew Benham that he was sufficiently committed to the owner's statistical analysis-based philosophy of player recruitment. Warburton went up to Scotland and has so far managed Rangers to ten consecutive wins in The Scottish Championship. Benham appointed Dutchman Marinus Dijkhuizen as manager only to sack him after ten games with The Bees languishing in the bottom three. Lee Carsley has since taken over and, despite making it clear that he does not want the job permanently, seems to have steadied the ship.
It is likely that former Addick Alan McCormack will start in midfield for the visitors. Who would have thought three years ago that the ex-Southend pair of McCormack and Simon Francis would now be playing for clubs above Charlton in the league ?
Good news for the home team is that Johann Berg Gudmundsson will be available again after injury. It is likely that Simon Makienok will play some of the game, but not from the start. Henderson could be back in goal and Jackson might also start. This should mean that some of the younger players who looked like rabbits in the headlights on Tuesday will be able to look around them for the support and encouragement which should help them raise their game. Diarra, however, will be suspended. Naby Sarr did not look a competent deputy against Preston but will presumably play alongside the returning Bauer.
Brentford last came to The Valley on February 14th - just eight months ago. Charlton had not won for fourteen games and had accumulated only five points during that run. They hadn't won a home game in the previous eight, despite entertaining Blackpool and Rotherham. The Supporters Trust were busy organising a public meeting in Woolwich so that supporters could express their views about the dire situation. And what happened? We won 3-0 and went on to win seven of the next nine.
I'm not greedy. 3-0 would be very nice but 1-0 will do for me this time.