Charlton's caretaker management team of Lee Bowyer and Johnnie Jackson could hardly have picked more in-form opponents than Plymouth Argyle to face in their first game in charge. It was no surprise when Pilgrims manager Derek Adams won the League One manager of the month award for February after his team won all five of their games during the month - including wins at Shrewsbury and at home to Blackburn. They arrive at The Valley in sixth place, having won 13 of their last 18 games with only one defeat (1-3 v Wigan) in the last three months.
This is a remarkable turnaround for a club who had won only one game (against Charlton of course) before the middle of October when they were propping up the table with just 11 points from 16 games.
Adams joined Plymouth in June 2015 after a very successful first stint in management at Ross County. His achievements in 2011/12 even shaded Chris Powells's as he led County to promotion to the SPL with a twenty four point lead over nearest rivals Dundee. By the time they were first beaten in the SPL in September of that year they had completed an unbeaten run of forty games.
He took Argyle to the League 2 play off final in his first season at Home Park and followed that up last year with automatic promotion - missing out on being champions by one point. The team's disastrous start to this season makes his achievements all the more impressive. He pointed to "a host of injuries and suspensions" but he has clearly been able to identify shortcomings and find ways to overcome them. Of the team who beat Charlton in August only three started in Plymouth's game against Fleetwood last week. Danger man is Irishman Graham Carey who followed Adams from Ross County after failing to break through at Celtic and who has eleven goals this season.
Nearly three thousand fans will be in the Jimmy Seed stand on Saturday supporting the visitors and just a few days ago it seemed likely that they would be met by no more than a dwindling band of demoralised home supporters. The change of management has given Charlton supporters a lift but the increasing likelihood of a change of ownership being announced next week is much more significant. New owners with ambition, finance and football intelligence will offer us hope for next season and after all our suffering we can afford to take a long term view. But it would be a real shot in the arm to beat Plymouth and still have a shout for this season. Let's hope for a bit of new manager bounce of our own.