Goodbye to the play-offs?

Mathematically, a play-off place is by no means impossible, of course.

But defeats in the last three games - and in particular in the manner of the defeat at Blackpool on Tuesday evening - have left most supporters seeing very little optimism for any imminent upturn in fortunes. It seems that Karl Robinson does not have the ability any more to motivate and organise his players into a cohesive unit which can maintain a challenge, and fan confidence in him is fast evaporating. The concern at present is that we might finish below Gillingham and Southend.

Fleetwood Town arrive at The Valley in dismal form but with a new manager. They have won only once in 2018 (2-1 at pre-Powell Southend in mid January). They suffered six consecutive league defeats after that which led to the sacking of Uwe Rosler. He was replaced on 17th February by John Sheridan - known to most Charlton fans as the guy who scored that free kick which put Leeds United temporarily in front in the 1987 play-off final.

Sheridan suffered a 1-2 defeat by Portsmouth in his first game but has since stopped the rot somewhat by securing draws with Milton Keynes and, more creditably, with rampant Plymouth Argyle. Nevertheless, his team arrive at The Valley for what is their first away game under his charge in the relegation zone in 21st place.

The game will be played in a gloomy atmosphere. Any optimism about an imminent change of ownership was dashed by Robinson's comments after the Blackpool defeat:

“Our CEO was gone at the end of December. Our financial director has gone now. We were told the club would be done in two weeks. That was seven or eight weeks ago in the beginning of January. We thought we’d have somebody in in mid-January to try and push us forward and give us some funds. I’m stood here in mid-March and being told it’s nowhere near."

There has been no contradiction of this "nowhere near" comment from the higher echelons of the club, which has led to confusion, dismay and the resumption of  protests.

In the context of all this, a win against Fleetwood will have little significance. It really does look now as if we will be playing Accrington next season and that the best fans can hope for is that it will be under a new ownership who have had some time to make suitable preparations for a promotion campaign.