Hillsborough – Riga’s return

When Jose Riga's Charlton team kicked off at 3pm at Hillsborough on Easter Monday 2014 they were in 21st place - outside the drop zone only courtesy of a goal difference marginally better than Blackpool's.  In their previous games they had been brushed aside 0-3 at Brighton; lost 1-2 at home to fellow strugglers Barnsley and only drawn 0-0 against Bolton at The Valley. At eight minutes past three they were 2-0 down. I was listening to Five Live on the radio when the news came through two minutes later -"There's been another goal at Hillsborough..."

Amazingly, it was a Charlton goal but - more amazingly - it was the first of three in an unlikely 3-2 victory. Even more stunningly amazingly, it was the first of three scored by the much derided Marvin Sordell. Overall, it was the sort of day that almost makes being in a relegation scrap worthwhile.

Two years later Riga returns to Hillsborough with an even more challenging job on his hands. This time his team is five points from safety and travels with by far the worst goal difference in the Championship. And he has no Sordell to call on.

Wednesday are not in the greatest of form. Their 3-0 win at Forest last Saturday was their first win in six games, having previously lost at Preston and at home to Rotherham and only drawn at home to QPR and Hull and away to Brighton. In those six games their defence has been solid (only three conceded) but, until Saturday, they had scored just one goal in five outings. This despite boasting a strike force which includes our old friend Fernando Forestieri, Gary Hooper, Lucas Joao and the giant Austrian Atdhe Nuhiu. Their midfield will include Aiden McGeady but not Barry Bannon who was sent off at Forest. Jose Semedo has not appeared in the team for some time.

It is hard to predict what team Riga will select for this game but one would assume that there would not be too many changes from last Sunday. It might be useful to have Makienok around to counter Nuhiu if necessary. Henderson might replace Pope even though Pope had a good game against Boro. Lookman might be seen as an impact player from the bench.

It would certainly not be a good idea to go 2-0 down in the first few minutes but, if they do, I am pretty confident that Reza Ghoochannejhad will turn it around with a hat trick. That would make for a brilliant afternoon and an even more challenging tattoo.

I think we can also be confident that fans travelling up to Yorkshire will do so to watch the game and support the team and not to create disorder on the pitch and interfere with the players and the game. So that will make a change at least.