Since turning Charlton over 3-0 at The Valley last September and being within a point of the play-off places Brentford have fallen away badly and, although they are currently safe in 14th place, their form in 2016 has been only marginally better than ours with seven points gained in comparison to our six.
They kicked off the New Year losing 1-2 at Birmingham and followed that with a further seven defeats (four at home), one draw and just the two victories. February produced four defeats and one victory with five goals scored and twelve conceded. They are not in the best of form and last week they became the first team to be beaten by Rotherham since early January.
They have lost at home nine times this season including being beaten by Oxford (0-4) and Walsall (0-1) in the cups. Griffin Park is hardly a fortress.
Any more straws to grasp at? Well, there were some indications from the Reading game that Charlton could put on a bit of a performance going forward at least. QPR loanee Yun Suk-Young offered some much needed pace and penetration on the left. Yaya Sanogo scored three goals (although by so doing he became the first Charlton player since Jonny Summers in December 1956 to score a hat trick at The Valley and end up on the losing side)*. Jordan Cousins might be fit to return. Alou Diarra will be a little more match fit than he was last week. Surely, our defence can't be that bad again?
Alan Judge was head and shoulders the best player on the park at The Valley in September and is Brentford's leading scorer with fourteen. Jose Riga is going to need to find a way to nullify him if Charlton are to make any impact. Brentford also have Josh McEachran in midfield - one of the hundreds of Chelsea loanees that knock around the league for years before finally giving up on breaking through at Stamford Bridge. He signed for the Bees at the beginning of the season but injuries have restricted his appearances. We may not see old boy Alan McCormack who (like Simon Francis) has looked a much better player since leaving Charlton, but David Button is likely to be in goal for the hosts.
I'm optimistic. Three points coming our way just to set us up for inevitable disappointment against MK Dons on Tuesday.
*I'm pretty sure of this. Can anyone find a more recent example?