Doncaster – a stiff test of Charlton’s credentials

Doncaster's surprise 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury on Tuesday was only their second reverse of 2019. Since the turn of the year they have been in impressive form which has helped them move into and consolidate a play-off place at the expense of Peterborough. Their only previous defeat this year was at Wycombe in mid January - a game they lost 3-2 despite leading 2-1 going into the 90th minute.

At home, their form has been particularly strong. Since losing to Sunderland at the end of October they have gone on a run of six wins and two draws with a goal difference of 22-6. This is in addition to their cup run which, since they disposed of Charlton's second team in December, saw them beat Preston and Oldham before succumbing to Palace in the fifth round.

In Lewisham-born John Marquis they also boast League One's top goalscorer with 17 League goals plus 5 in the cups. Marquis was on Millwall's books for seven seasons from 2009 to 2016 but only made 52 appearances (5 goals). He had nine separate loan spells before finally signing for Doncaster in June 2016 and leading their promotion push from League Two with 26 goals.

Charlton fans travelling to The Keepmoat Stadium will also have the opportunity to witness the phenomenon that is James Coppinger. If he plays, the thirty eight year old will be making his 603rd appearance for the club in his fifteenth consecutive season since arriving from Exeter. That is more than double the number of Chris Solly's appearances for Charlton, although Charlton's left back does have ten years to spare.

Charlton's win at Wimbledon was welcome but the performance, particularly in the first half, was not especially inspiring. Doncaster will certainly provide a much stiffer test and a draw - which would maintain the gap between the two clubs at five points - would not be a bad outcome, particularly as the squad may be weakened by illness after a virus hit the training ground this week. Almost as important as the result will be Lyle Taylor avoiding the yellow card which would see him suspended for two games. He will also need to avoid a caution in the Portsmouth and Burton games.

Flushed with the success of our stunning prediction last week that Igor's moment would arrive at Wimbledon our prophecy this week is that neither Marquis nor Coppinger will get any change out of the Charlton defence on Saturday. When this proves to be correct we hope it will put an end to any unkind comments about stopped clocks.