Hull City arrive at The Valley on Friday night for the first encounter between the two teams since the infamous 0-6 defeat of January 2016. The game brought to an end the worst week in Charlton's history on the pitch, following defeats at Colchester (1-2) and Huddersfield (0-5). Hull would go on to gain promotion to The Premier League via the play-offs while Charlton, despite Jose Riga's best efforts, were consigned to League One for three long years.
Friday's game also sees the first appearance at The Valley of Hull manager Grant McCann since he brought his Doncaster side here for the play-off semi final in May. He was rewarded for his success with Donny by being offered the Hull job when Nigel Adkins resigned at the end of last season. His team began the season unconvincingly and, at the end of August, were lying twentieth while Charlton were second.
They have gradually improved however and arrive in South London in mid table. Their form is notoriously unpredictable - especially away from home where they have beaten Fulham and Luton 3-0 and Forest 2-1 while losing 3-0 at Huddersfield and 3-1 at Barnsley. They were beaten 2-0 at Leeds on Tuesday night.
Much of their improvement is down to the phenomenal form of Jarrod Bowen who has scored 14 Championship goals already this season including ten in his last eleven games. He was spotted and signed by Hull in 2014 when he was an eighteen year old playing for Hereford in The Conference. He made his Premier League debut in 2017 and during the last three seasons has been almost ever present in the Championship team - scoring 22 last year and 14 the year before. (Mind you, his goals are coming at 1 every 135 minutes which compares poorly with Lyle Taylor's 121). Bowen will be accompanied in attack by one of two familiar faces - Josh Magennis, who has scored 5 this season despite being sent off twice or the Gillingham giant - Tom Eaves, who has struggled to gain a regular place at Championship level but who Lee Bowyer was blocked from signing in the summer. Polish international Kamil Grosicki is also a danger.
Hull haven't won at The Valley since 1978, although they did beat us at Selhurst Park in our 1985/86 promotion season. Our teams' confidence will not have been boosted by the late defeat by Huddersfield on Tuesday but the result could so easily have gone the other way. It is important that the team feel the full backing of the crowd on Friday. It seems unlikely that Lyle Taylor will start but it must be hoped that he will get 45 minutes. It is also possible that Johnnie Williams will be on the bench. Things can only get better.
The bookies still have faith in us. They see us escaping relegation by one place. Bet365 price us at 2/1 ahead of Barnsley (2/9) Wigan (1/1) and Luton (6/5).