The bad news for an apparently demoralised Charlton side travelling up to Highbury Stadium this weekend is that Fleetwood would seem to be a much better team than their league position of 20th suggests.
They were beaten at home by Portsmouth (0-1) on the opening day and then suffered narrow defeats at Lincoln (1-2) and Sheffield Wednesday (0-1) which left them in 23rd position. Since then, however, things have improved. They beat Cheltenham 3-2 at home and had a fine 4-2 win at Rotherham before drawing with Sunderland (2-2), Cambridge (2-2) and Milton Keynes (3-3). Their goal tally of 16 makes them one of the top scorers in League One with Ged Garner leading the way with four but with nine other players on the score sheet already.
This revival is impressive given that things are far from settled off the field. The club is under an EFL transfer embargo and the owner - Andrew Pilley - has recently been charged in relation to fraud and money-laundering. He is to appear before Preston Crown Court on October 20th.
In the previous eight encounters we have won twice, drawn five times and only lost once. Travelling fans will have warm memories of the Tariqe Fosu hat trick that gave us a 3-1 win up there in September 2017. Our only defeat came in February 2019 when a Ched Evans goal and a Patrick Bauer sending off made for a miserable afternoon, although the season itself was to end on a high. On our last appearance at Highbury Stadium we took the lead when Jayden Stockley headed in a Graham Shinnie cross but Paddy Madden equalised and it ended 1-1.
There will be little optimism among Charlton supporters who left The Valley soaking wet and dismayed after the team's capitulation against Bolton on Tuesday. We salute the 311 who have bought tickets for Saturday's game and we hope for the best for them. There is one piece of good news in that it seems that Jonathan Leko should be fit for selection. Although some of his runs end up in a cul-de -sac he does at least seem willing to turn and take on defenders. As well as scoring sixteen this season Fleetwood have also conceded sixteen so there may be some gaps to exploit.
Saturday would be a good time to score the first goal. And then get another. And, for good measure and to avoid any panic, maybe a third just after half time. We live in hope.