Norwich – the end of third round misery at last?

Charlton's record in FA Cup third round ties in the last decade:

Played 6; Lost 5; Drawn 1; Scored 4, Conceded 12. 

Most would probably agree that the worst of them all was the 1-2 at Colchester in January 2016. The home side were second to bottom of League One and, by managing a late equaliser at Oldham the previous week, they had just ended a run of nine consecutive defeats. In their previous four home games they had lost to Southend, Barnsley, Crewe and Coventry and, after beating us, they went a further eight games before their next win. Reza Ghoochannejhad's injury time goal was no consolation at all to the travelling fans who had witnessed Marvin Sordell make one and score one in an ignominious first half. Manager Karel Fraeye summed it all up with masterful insight: "We had some possibilities to score, but the goal was too late for us to come home with the result."

Tedious home defeats by Huddersfield (2013), Blackburn (2015) and West Brom (2020) are best forgotten. Crowds of 6,657; 8,727 and 6,426 watched weakened home teams knocked out by clubs who just wanted it a bit more. The draw with League Two Oxford (2014) was nearly a similar story as we were 0-2 down at half time and needed an 82nd minute volley from Yann Kermorgant to force the replay. Chris Powell was not impressed: "That first half was easily worst 45 minutes since I've been manager here. I told them I don't ever want to see that again from them. It was unacceptable. Forget the pitch, it was a side that didn't play to our standards and didn't compete."

Ironically, the biggest defeat - the 0-4 defeat at Craven Cottage (2012) - was probably the best and most enjoyable performance. Backed by a large travelling contingent our team played some impressive football but it was ultimately a game of two strikers. Fulham's Clint Dempsey scored a flukey hat trick but Bradley Wright-Phillips couldn't finish a number of one-on-ones with David Stockdale. It might have been so different but we were ultimately left to concentrate on the league. And, in fairness, we did rather enjoy that....

In fact, you have to go back sixteen years to find the last time Charlton won a third round tie on the day. Back through the 0-3 at Tottenham (2011) and the 0-2 at Forest (2007) and including the draws against WBA (2008 - lost replay) and our friends from Norwich (2009 - won replay but lost at Bramall Lane next round). The last time a Charlton team was guaranteed a fourth round tie when the draw was made was January 2006 when our Premier League side won 4-2 at  Sheffield Wednesday with Denis Rommedahl scoring twice before being substituted at half-time.

So what are the chances of progression on Sunday ? A lot will depend on how Norwich approach the game. Manager Dean Smith will certainly still believe that his team can avoid relegation as they are only three points behind Watford in seventeenth place. They seemed to give themselves a chance during an unbeaten November (two wins and two draws) but December was disastrous as they lost five consecutive games to an aggregate of 0-14.  They have only scored fourteen goals all season and six of those came in one EFL Cup game against Bournemouth. Teemu Pukki has scored five of their eight Premier League goals but will he be selected for Sunday? They have upcoming games with Everton and Watford to consider and they might not fancy risking their flying Finn in a battle with Ryan Inniss or Jason Pearce.

Previous Charlton managers might have been ambivalent about the FA Cup but Johnnie Jackson certainly isn't. We can expect a strong home team although Akin Famewo is ineligible and there are doubts about Jayden Stockley's hip. There will be no replay - the result will be decided on the day with a penalty shoot out if there is no winner after 120 minutes.

There is a real opportunity for progress, extra income and the boost to morale which a cup run would give to supporters. We are hopeful that our first team can take inspiration from their understudies' EFL Trophy win on Tuesday night and that a five figure crowd will spur us through to the rare luxury of  a fourth round tie.