For the third time in eight games Charlton will face the team at the bottom of the league when they travel to The Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
They managed to see off Northampton and Oldham - although not without some scares - and they will be expected to do the same against Gillingham. After the chastening defeat by Wigan on Tuesday evening it will no doubt be a relief to be facing opponents who are still looking for their first win of the season. It was four games before they scored their first goal and, of their total of 5 so far, three came in their 3-3 draw with Southend. Their other two home games resulted in defeats by Shrewsbury (1-2) and Bradford (0-1). However, they will be buoyed by the fact that they forced a 1-1 draw at Wimbledon in mid week despite playing for 45 minutes with ten men after their captain and former Charlton midfielder Lee Martin was sent off.
To add to the club's problems their vice Chairman Michael Anderson has resigned from the board having been charged with a $5.7m health care fraud in the U.S.
Manager Adrian Pennock was appointed last January to replace Justin Edinburgh and he just about managed to steer them clear of relegation. He is a former player who had previous managerial spells at Welling and Forest Green Rovers as well as being first team coach under Tony Pulis at Stoke. He is assisted by another former Welling boss Jamie Day and he will of course be able to rely on Scott Wagstaff to put in a shift on his behalf. He is keen to promote a "siege mentality" among his players and is satisfied so far that "I could go to war with every single one of these boys". He has also spoken very highly of Czech goalkeeper Tomas Holy: "There will be people watching him because of his size and the way he kicks". We look forward to taking a view ourselves.
Few fans will have shaken off bitter memories of Premier League Charlton being knocked out of the FA Cup 2-3 by Gillingham in January 2004. That was a dreadful (and very cold) day but it was the first time that they had beaten us for seventy five years. In fact, all Gillingham's four victories over Charlton were during the 1920s. The most recent - a 1-0 win on 23rd March 1929 - was a surprise result as Charlton were well on their way to becoming champions of The Third Division (South) that season while Gillingham were to finish bottom of the league. It goes to show that nothing can be taken for granted.
Nevertheless, anything but an away win will be seen as a humiliation by travelling supporters. Last season, Russell Slade was loudly criticised for playing 4-5-1 at the Priestfield. Karl Robinson seems to know no other way. We pray for a dry day and a fit Josh Magennis.