Having already beaten Welling and Ebbsfleet this season Havant & Waterlooville (The Hawks) will arrive in SE7 on Saturday looking to complete a historic South London / North Kent treble.
When Truro City came to The Valley and gave a good account of themselves four years ago they were in the promotion pack in The National League South. In contrast, The Hawks are in mid-table seven points behind leaders Dartford and only two ahead of Welling. They have struggled for consistency. They had a good 3-2 win at Chelmsford last Saturday but that followed a home defeat by lowly Slough and a draw with Hungerford
However, they are certainly enjoying the FA Cup - having scored 14 goals already to reach the first round proper. They entered the competition at the 2nd qualifying stage and won 5-3 at Beaconsfield. They saw off Billericay 3-2 in the next round to set up a tie with National League Torquay. They forced a 2-2 draw at Plainmoor and came from 1-2 down to prevail 4-2 in the replay.
They also have some FA Cup pedigree. Does the name Alfie Potter ring any bells ? In 2007/08 he was their star as they went on a fine run to the fourth round where they beat Swansea 4-2 in a replay. Their reward was a trip to Anfield where they led Liverpool twice before eventually succumbing 2-5. Their current manager Paul Doswell was in charge of Sutton United four years ago when they also reached the fifth round. They knocked out Wimbledon and Leeds United on the way and their 0-2 defeat at Arsenal was no disgrace.
Doswell was assisted at Sutton by Ian Baird and he brought the Scot with him when he took over at Havant. Charlton supporters may remember Baird as a "rugged" player who featured for Leeds in the play-off finals in 1987. He didn't quite rival Mark Aizlewood who was booked in all three games but he did manage a brace - including one in the final after a bust up with Peter Shirtliff who took exception to Baird's sliding tackle on Bob Bolder. So we owe him one.
One player who may be disappointed to miss the game is Ross Worner who played eight games in goal for Charlton in 2010 after signing from Woking. Some may recall his memorable debut in a Carling Cup tie at Shrewsbury in which we surrendered a 3-0 lead to lose 3-4. Those appearances with us were the highest he got in the pyramid but he had successful spells at League Two level with Aldershot and Wimbledon before returning to non League with Sutton and Havant, where he has been for the last two seasons. Unfortunately, he is injured and hasn't played in the last three games so he may miss the trip.
Johnnie Jackson has a big enough squad to bring in some fringe players without fielding a weak team. We might expect to see Stephen Henderson, Josh Davison, CBT, Sean Clare and (new signing) Deji Elerewe start with Charlie Kirk and Albie Morgan maybe featuring from the bench. In recent times Charlton supporters have been long-suffering in cup games and many won't bother to turn up for this one. However, a cup run would be a real boost after our disappointing start to the season and our manager is saying all the right things:
“I love the FA Cup,” said Jackson. “It’s a game that I want to win, it’s a game that I expect to win. I’ve got some good and bad memories of the FA Cup; it’s still one of the biggest regrets of my career not progressing to the semi-finals with Charlton. So, I’ve long been an admirer of the FA cup."
“It’s a good opportunity obviously to utilise your squad,” he added. “I’ve got a lot of players here chomping at the bit for a game and people that want to show me that they should be playing, so there’s an opportunity to do that. But, regardless of whatever team I put out there, I will demand the same things that I have been of the lads that have played so far in the league. We can’t come off of those principles that we’ve put in place. Whatever team I put out there should be good enough to win the game and I expect that.”
“It’s important that we approach the game with the right mentality, like we have been, and don’t come off of that. If we’re like that, we’ll win the game but I said to the lads, ‘you have to approach it in that same way, don’t become a story on Sunday morning’.”
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