Four straight wins to start with?
In 1933 Jimmy Seed won his first game in charge against Bournemouth but lost his second at Luton and drew his third at Cardiff. Frank Hill made a great start in 1961 but was beaten 1-4 at Newcastle on his debut. Bob Stokoe lost his first two and Eddie Firmani lost two of his first three. Andy Nelson did well by winning three out of four but had only drawn at Halifax in his first game. Mike Bailey waited ten games for a win and Mullery lost at Luton first time out. Neither Lenny Lawrence nor Alan Curbishley could win their first game. Dowie and Pardew? Er, no. It took Phil Parkinson two months to get a win and, of the Duchatelet managers, Bob Peeters had the best start with an eleven game unbeaten run although seven of those were drawn including the first game at Brentford.
Albert Lindon (December 1932) and Kevin Nugent (November 2016) managed to win their first two games but Chris Powell became the first Charlton manager to take it to three and then four with victories against Plymouth (2-0), Colchester (1-0), Yeovil (0-1) and Peterborough (3-2) in early 2011.
Lee Bowyer has won his first three games in sensational style with an aggregate of 9-1 and victory at The Memorial Stadium on Saturday would secure him the distinction of the finest start by any Charlton manager ever. It is no great surprise that the club announced on Wednesday that:
"The club are currently in takeover discussions with two separate parties and while the sale of the club has not been finalised, it has been confirmed that one of the conditions of the sale, agreed by both parties interested in purchasing, will be that Bowyer is kept on as Caretaker Manager, with Johnnie Jackson continuing as his assistant, until the end of the season."
Bristol Rovers will be no pushovers despite having one of the poorest defensive records in League One. Their record of 60 goals conceded (Charlton 47) means that only Oxford, Bury, Oldham and Northampton are defensively frailer. They are not in great form -one win in the last five - but they nevertheless sit in tenth place having scored three more goals (56) than Charlton. Their danger man is youth product Ellis Harrison who has scored 14 this season.
Our recent record against the Pirates is excellent with only one defeat in the last nine encounters. We beat them 9-2 on aggregate last season and 1-0 with ten men in August. so expectations are high even though Tariqe Fosu may be missing from the line-up and his replacement Sullay Kaikai has yet to put in a really convincing performance.
Of course, although everyone would like to see Bowyer match Powell's start, it is the longer run that matters. Powell followed his opening burst with eleven winless games and at the moment most Charlton fans would settle for enough points over the last seven games to secure a play-off place.