One point from the opening three games is Charlton's worst start at third tier level since the 1928/29 season. Ninety three years ago, having been thrashed 1-4 at Northampton on the opening day, we managed to come from 0-2 down to force a draw at home to Newport County a week later. The following Monday we made the short trip over to Griffin Park and lost to Brentford 0-1. Supporters were not amused but we nevertheless finished the season as champions - pipping Palace on goal average. We were promoted to the Second Division for the first time.
Three years ago we won only one of our first five games and were in fourteenth place with five points. We had failed to score in home games against Peterborough and Fleetwood and were ten points behind the leaders at the end of August. By May we were at Wembley celebrating Patrick Bauer and our sixth escape from the third tier.
So we shouldn't be panicking. Nevertheless, at the moment it is hard for even the most optimistic fan to imagine any similar improvement in our fortunes in the near future. We see a goalkeeper who has yet to gain our confidence. A right-footed left back. A seventeen year old covering for an injury prone centre half. A tendency to hit the ball long to an isolated centre forward. No credible cover for that centre forward. Nobody on the bench who can lift the team or change a game.
Wigan arrive at The Valley in fourteenth place but this is deceptive as the fixture computer dealt them a particularly challenging start to the season. They lost narrowly (1-2) at Sunderland on the opening day but since then have managed to take four points from relegated clubs Rotherham (1-0) and Wycombe (1-1). They strengthened their squad considerably this summer and are rightly considered one of the favourites for promotion. Last year's League One top scorer Charlie Wyke was signed from Sunderland along with Max Power. Richie Humphreys (who scored a memorable goal at The Valley last season) has joined from Rochdale and the fact that he came on as a late substitute this week speaks volumes when you consider the striking options that we have on the bench. Jordan Cousins (now 27) joined from Stoke and is likely to start in midfield. And, of course, Ben Amos will be in goal. Do you remember the criticism he got from some quarters last year when he was beaten from long range ?
Are there any silver linings ?
There are still two weeks of the transfer window and we have room for four loan signings. We have brought in some transformative loan signings in recent seasons (Gallagher, Bielik, Millar) and we must hope that the delay this year is because we are pursuing quality.
Diallang Jayesimi showed on Tuesday (in the first half at least) some real signs that he can be a player to make things happen. Jayden Stockley has been immense in attack and defence so far. Charlie Kirk has arrived. Deji Elewere shows great promise. Albie Morgan's dead ball delivery was better on Tuesday.
Avoiding defeat and keeping a clean sheet would be a pretty good outcome on Saturday, with anything beyond that a bonus. Supporters are already rattled and critical but expressing that during the game will only drain what little confidence the team currently possess. A supportive crowd and a committed performance is what is needed.