The match between Fleetwood and Charlton on Saturday brings together the two worst defences in the top half of League One. The home side have conceded fifteen in nine games and the visitors fourteen in ten. Compare that with the miserly defences at Shrewsbury (seven), Wigan (six) and Scunthorpe (three!) and it is hard to see either Fleetwood or Charlton being able to mount a consistent promotion challenge unless they can tighten up.
However, at the other end, Fleetwood have scored in every game they have played this season and, after beating Bury 3-2 in mid September, they were in a play-off spot. They were then thrashed 1-4 at Portsmouth and 2-4 at home to Southend before bouncing back in mid week with a very impressive 3-0 win at Bradford. Still with a game in hand they come into Saturday's game full of confidence and just one point behind their visitors.
Leading goal scorer Devante Cole (son of Andy Cole) has had a sensational start. After scoring just five in thirty five appearances last term he was notched seven in nine already this season. He is accompanied by his fellow ex-Bradford partner Jody Hiwula-Mayifuila who has scored four, and they were both on the score sheet against their former club on Tuesday. Manager Uwe Rosler may also be able to call on Conor McAleny who scored both goals in their opening day 2-0 win over Rotherham but who has subsequently been injured. In the Championship McAleny flopped during his loan spell at Charlton but he seems to have found his level in League One. Last year on loan at Oxford from Everton he scored ten goals in fourteen starts including two hat tricks, and he is now a Fleetwood player.
Charlton have only two clean sheets this season.Ironically, the first was achieved with ten men for most of the game against Bristol Rovers and the other was maintained at Rotherham who have scored eighteen goals in their other four home games. It seems unlikely that we will be able to keep Fleetwood out for ninety minutes especially without Jason Pearce who could be missing for ten weeks with knee ligament damage. Pearce's injury means that we are now only a small tweak away from Naby Sarr returning to the side. The scene is set for the much maligned Frenchman to become a Charlton cult figure but we look forward to it with somewhat mixed feelings.
Bradford's defeat and Peterborough losing at Oldham may be signs that it is a pretty even division where all results are possible but it is hard to feel optimistic about Charlton at the moment. There seems to be a frailty and a lack of concentration about their play and, however good he might be, the long awaited Ben Reeves will hardly make us less frail.
Probably the best we can hope for at Fleetwood is another 2-2 draw but I am holding out for ninety dire and goal-less minutes followed by a Naby Sarr thirty yard curler into the top corner in injury time. After that, we get the ball in the corner and see out time with Ricky Holmes playing the Tony Watt role.