Tariqe – the key to the play-offs?

Charlton have won half of the games (12 of 25) this season in which Tariqe Fosu-Henry has featured in the starting line up. In contrast, when he has been absent or only on the bench, the team have won only a quarter (4 of 16). Those 4 wins were all against struggling teams - Bury, Walsall, Oldham & Milton Keynes. We haven't beaten a top half team without him all season.

In terms of points the team have accumulated 1.68 points per game with Tariqe playing compared to 1.23 when he isn't. Over a 46 game season this amounts to a 20 point difference.

So is there much chance of us beating Scunthorpe on Saturday without him?

They cannot be described as an in-form team. Since beating Bury 1-0 on New Years Day Scunthorpe have won only one game out of fourteen and that win (at Fleetwood) was eleven games ago. Manager Graham Alexander was sacked after the 1-1 home draw with Rochdale on March 24th even though the club were still in fifth place. Under caretakers Andy Dawson and Nicky Daws they have drawn at Oxford and Wimbledon and have dropped to ninth. Like Bradford before them they look like a club which has run out of steam at the business end of the season.

They are no pushovers however. They may not have won for ten games but they have drawn seven of them - including 2-2 at Peterborough and 3-3 at Wigan. Their only defeat in eight away games this calendar year was via an injury time Michael Turner effort in Chris Powell's first match at Southend. And they managed a draw at Wimbledon last time out which was more than we could do.

The optimism surrounding Lee Bowyer's start in management was well and truly punctured by the manner of Charlton's defeat on Tuesday. The team did not manage a shot on target and Zyro, Kaikai and Mavididi were particularly disappointing. Individual defensive errors have cost us points in the last two games and it will be a real test of Bowyer's managerial ability to rekindle the spark of the Plymouth and Rotherham games.

A draw looks likely and, with Peterborough hosting Rochdale, we would expect to be out of the top six again by the time we take on Shrewsbury on Tuesday. With games against Portsmouth and Blackburn to follow a lot of hope must be pinned either on Fosu being fully fit or someone else really stepping up to the plate. We really need Steffi to be able to trust his hamstrings and go into overdrive for something spectacular.