A good time to be playing Crewe

Played four. Lost three. Drawn one. Scored one. Conceded five. Points one.

Not Charlton, but Crewe.

The Alex are one of only three clubs who have made a worse start to the season than Charlton and they will arrive at The Valley on Saturday in 22nd place - just above Shrewsbury and Doncaster. Their solitary League goal was scored by Frenchman Mikael Mandron in the 28th minute of their opening game against Cheltenham on August 7th. The final score was 1-1 and since then they have lost 0-2 at Portsmouth, 0-1 at Oxford and 0-1 at home to Accrington so it is now over five hours without a goal.

In fairness, they did manage a 1-0 win at Hartlepool in The Carabao Cup despite playing with ten men for nearly eighty minutes. In the second round this week they held Leeds at Elland Road for seventy nine minutes before succumbing to three late goals.

Charlton and Crewe have met on six previous occasions in League fixtures and we won the first five with an aggregate of 11-2. The last meeting was last April when a 96th minute equaliser by Owen Dale meant a 2-2 draw and a major setback to our play-off hopes. Those who watched the game on Charlton TV will remember that, painful though it was to see, the goal was by no means undeserved. Crewe had dominated on possession, shots, shots on target and corners in a second half when their neat passing game often left us chasing shadows.

Dale scored both goals that day but is unlikely to feature on Saturday as he is currently in dispute with the club as he feels they are blocking his chance of moving to a Championship club by demanding too high a price. Last year's star player Charlie Kirk will of course be lining up for us. Manager David Artell has however made seven new signings to strengthen his squad - including that of former Charlton Academy defender Terell Thomas who has signed after three years and ninety appearances for Wimbledon. He was joined this week by nineteen year old winger Ben Knight on loan from Manchester City. The youngster has represented England at under 18 and 17 level and came on as a substitute in the Community Shield defeat to Leicester earlier this month.

Our 4th September game at Gillingham has been postponed because Conor Washington, Chris Gunter and Hady Ghandour have been called up for international duty for Northern Ireland, Wales and Lebanon. This means that our next two fixtures are home games against Crewe and Cheltenham. Charlton supporters try not to feel entitled but surely it is not too much to ask that we will be going up to Wycombe on 18th October with seven points and a larger and better equipped squad.

We hope that Elliot Lee (who arrived today on loan from Luton) will be the first of a number of players who will join in the next few days to enhance the squad and give all our spirits a lift. It may be narrow and it may not be pretty but we expect at least a 1-0 home win.


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