Barnsley – the best away record in the country

Barnsley arrive at The Valley this Saturday having played six away games of which they have won four, drawn one and lost only one with a total goal difference of 15-4. They kicked off the season winning 2-0 at Bradford and followed this up with a comprehensive 4-0 at Rochdale. A 2-2 at Scunthorpe was followed by their only defeat (0-1 v Coventry). They returned to form with a 3-1 win at Fleetwood before their amazing 4-0 demolition of Peterborough at London Road at the beginning of this month. They sit in third place with a game in hand on Portsmouth and Peterborough and a goal difference of +17 which is by far the best in League One and is bettered only by Manchester City. They would seem to be the toughest opposition that Charlton will have faced so far this season.

Barnsley were unfortunate to be relegated from he Championship last May. With five minutes of the season left they were safely in 21st place but Bolton's two late goals against Forest saw them leapfrog Barnsley and condemn them to the drop. The Tykes dispensed with their Portugeuse manager - Jose Morais - but were able to retain most of their Championship squad. New manager - German Daniel Stendel - named eight players from their final squad of last season in the team to kick off this one. These included strikers Kieffer Moore who has already scored seven this term and Brad Potts who has five. But it is in defence that Barnsley excel - their record of nine goals conceded in twelve games is the best in League One and twice as good as Charlton's.

They also have a very good recent record at The Valley, having won on their last three visits. You have to go back five games to the opening fixture of 1999/2000 for a Charlton win courtesy of a Clive Mendonca hat trick. In fact the only Charlton win in the nine matches since that day was the 6-0 at Oakwell in April 2013 which, despite last week's 8-0 at Stevenage, is surely the club's best away performance in a proper football match.

Defeats by Coventry and Scunthorpe and a scrambled draw at Luton have put Charlton's season so far in perspective. We prepare for Saturday's fixture in eleventh place (albeit with a game in hand) and find ourselves below Accrington and Fleetwood for the first time in our history. We have yet to win a game against a team above us in the table and four of our five wins have come against bottom eight sides. We are nine points behind the automatic promotion places and five points off the play-offs.

Injuries have definitely played their part in this. The absence of Bielik, Bauer and Page has been crucial in conceding nine goals in the last three games. We hope that the return at least of Bielek will add some steel to the defence and allow the midfield and strikers to create and finish opportunities. With tough games against Doncaster and Portsmouth coming up we can't afford to drop any  further behind.