Charlton's recent record at The Hawthorns should give us plenty of confidence ahead of Saturday's game, despite WBA's imposing position at the top of The Championship and our team's depleted resources. Since the turn of the century we have played there seven times - winning four, drawing one and losing twice.
Jason Euell, Sean Bartlett, Matt Holland and Danny Murphy were our goal scorers as we completed a quartet of single goal victories between October 2001 and September 2005. When The Baggies eventually beat us in December 2007 it was a similar scenario to this weekend's game. They were in top spot in The Championship and we were fifth. Goals from Chris Iwelumo and Izale McLeod saw us 2-2 after eighty minutes, but two late goals sealed a 4-2 win for them.
Our last trip up there was for an FA Cup third round replay in January 2008 when we came from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 with a ninetieth minute Chris Dickson equaliser. We subsequently lost on penalties as Luke Varney and Zheng Zhi failed to beat Albion keeper Dean Kiely from the spot.
The enormous gap between the resources of the two clubs cannot be over emphasised. WBA cashed in £30m worth of players in the summer when Saloman Rondon, Jay Rodriguez and Craig Dawson left for China, Burnley and Watford respectively. Some of this has been spent on Kenneth Zohore (£8m from Cardiff), Charlie Austin (£4m from Southampton) and Grady Diangana - on loan from West Ham. In contrast, Charlton will be unable to use Sam Field or Jonathan Leko because of the terms of their loan deals and will be missing Williams, Forster-Caskey and Taylor through injury. On the bench for The Addicks on Wednesday for the heartbreaking late defeat at Ashton Gate was Josh Davison - a 20 year old striker signed this month from Enfield Town of The Isthmian League Premier Division.
It is likely that playing in central defence for Albion will be Charlton Academy product Semi Ajayi. Six years ago he was a regular in our under 23s and he made the bench for a first team fixture in January 2013. He was then given a contract by Arsenal but failed to make any first team appearances for The Gunners or at his next club, Cardiff. He then seemed to find his level when he had two years at Rotherham before heading for The Hawthorns this summer. He is now a mainstay of the WBA defence and a regular in the Nigeria team - he played in the team that drew with Brazil this month. None of this, of course, will truly equip him for the challenge of Macauley Bonne on Saturday.
The Championship is an incredibly open competition this season with any team on its day apparently able to beat any other. WBA have only lost once (at Leeds 0-1) but have been held to draws at home by Millwall, Reading and Barnsley. There is no reason to doubt that a patched-up Charlton side can't overcome the tiredness and disappointment of Wednesday night and come home from The Hawthorns with at least a point.
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