A year ago - going in to their fixtures on Saturday September 23rd 2017 - Charlton were in sixth place with 15 points from 8 games and Plymouth were 23rd with five points.
Fast forward a year and the situation is almost exactly the same. We have 14 points and are one place outside the play-off positions. Plymouth - without a win this season - find themselves rock bottom with just 3 points from their opening 8 games.
As we know, however, a lot happened in the meantime. Plymouth were to gain only two points from their next six games and were bottom in mid October and six points from safety. Their board didn't panic, however. They kept their faith in manager Derek Adams and the team went on a remarkable winter run (including six straight wins in January & February) which meant that, when they arrived at The Valley in March it was they who were in sixth place. They had turned a ten point deficit into a five point advantage over their hosts who had by now slipped to ninth. Lewis Page scored the wonder goal that set Charlton on the way to a 2-0 victory and, at the end of the season, it was Plymouth who were squeezed out of the play-offs after losing their final two games. Nevertheless, it had been a terrific achievement to mount such a challenge after their abysmal start.
Can they do it again? Adams is still in post and has returned to the touchline following his spat with Chris Powell which cost him £1500 and a two match ban. The team have now gone ten games since their last win and they haven't scored in the last three games. They have scored just four goals and conceded fourteen. The three points they have garnered so far have come from home draws with Southend and Wycombe and a 0-0 at Bristol Rovers.
Charlton's fixture a year ago was a home game with Bury which resulted in a disappointing 1-1 draw. The great difference between now and then is in the momentum. In September 2017 they had just suffered a humbling 0-3 home defeat by Wigan followed by a dreadful performance in a 0-1 loss at Gillingham. This year they will kick off on Saturday looking for a fourth consecutive victory - a feat they haven't achieved since the glorious 2011/12 season when they won six on the trot in September / October and a further five in March / April.
Lee Bowyer will be without Patrick Bauer who will be unavailable for two months following his injury at Bradford and Naby Sarr will presumably deputise. Nevertheless, it is hard to see beyond another efficient victory and a place in the top six.