First double of the season?

That August Saturday seems a very long time ago.

A goal from Jonathan Leko and a trademark Lyle Taylor penalty were enough to see off Reading 2-0 and propel Charlton to second place in The Championship behind early leaders Swansea. There were broad smiles all round in the away end but some wise killjoy will surely have mentioned marathons and sprints, and Lee Bowyer certainly wasn't getting carried away.

Nevertheless, optimism was running high. Everyone loved Taylor. We were thrilled by Conor Gallagher. No-one had heard of Matt Southall, Tahnoon Nimer or Coronavirus.

Eleven months later and, notwithstanding the Wigan situation, a win (and the consequent double) would be a major boost to Charlton's Championship survival. This match is one of two remaining opportunities to avoid going through an entire season without completing the double over any of our opponents, and not many would fancy us at Elland Road on the last day. Even in the dreadful relegation season of 2015/16 we managed to beat one club home and away (answer below*). That season was also when we last welcomed Reading to The Valley and, despite a Charlton player scoring a hat trick, there are few happy memories of that February day. We sat and witnessed a first half masterclass by Yann Kermorgant which saw the visitors into a two goal lead. Arsenal loanee Yaya Sanogo scored three for us (only one of which reached the back of the net) to draw us level at 3-3. In the last minute Roger Johnson appeared to simply fall over as Reading snatched the winner from a hopeful punt into our penalty area.

Apart from one result Mark Bowen's Reading team has, since the return from lockdown, looked as if they are not thrilled to be playing in mid Summer and are just looking forward to their holidays. A 1-1 home draw with Stoke was followed by a 1-2 defeat at Derby and a 0-3 home humbling by Brentford. This week they were held at home 0-0 by Huddersfield but last weekend they went to Luton and beat them 5-0. Four goals from Yakou Meite and one from Puscas were reminders of how their expensively assembled squad can perform on their day. Don't forget - Reading are the club whose wage costs are more than 220% of their income. Even in the lunatic Championship that is some statistic.

Charlton's performance against Brentford should give us plenty of optimism ahead of Saturday's game. There is also no reason to fear next week's trip to Birmingham nor the following game with Wigan. We may not be as bright-eyed as we were last August but we are nevertheless still confident that we will be staying up and paying over that £1.5m bonus to the man in Belgium.

Don't forget - Kick off is 12.30pm


*Birmingham City