It was a relief when Charlton managed to stop the rot last Saturday by somehow keeping Sunderland at bay. The returns of Stockley and Pearce certainly gave the team a stiffer backbone and there were a couple of moments when Scott Fraser suggested that he might bring some creativity to our midfield when he is fully match fit. But, even though Stockley really should have stolen it at the very end, there wasn't really much on show to give home fans cause for optimism.
After our unconvincing win over Wimbledon at the start of February many of us looked at the fixture list and wondered where the next points would come from. Six games and one point later we find ourselves in sixteenth place with the possibility of dropping to eighteenth if results go against us on Saturday. And yet, last time we were up in Accrington, a goal from Chuks Aneke in the 95th minute of an awful game seemed to have kept us just about in the play-off race.
We do have winnable fixtures coming up - Gillingham, Burton, Morecambe and Lincoln are coming to The Valley and we should be able to get something from Doncaster. It is painful to say so but Accrington away can't be put in that category.
The good news is that they have lost three of their last four games. They were thrashed 0-4 last weekend by a Portsmouth team that played with ten men for seventy minutes and they have lost at Doncaster and Cambridge 2-0 in recent weeks. The bad news is that at home they are in a fine run of form and are unbeaten in eight games since early December. During that run they have seen off Wycombe (3-2), Oxford (2-0), Crewe (4-1), Rotherham (1-0) and Bolton (1-0). That is a far from shabby collection of scalps.
Johnny Jackson has been up front this week about the meeting he held with players at the start of last week:
“It was just something I felt we needed to do,” said Jackson, when asked about his meeting with the playing squad. “It was long overdue, really. Certain things needed tidying up, perhaps we’d got a little complacent in the stuff we do. I wanted to put it the players to see what their thoughts were as well, let them have an opinion.
“Every now and again it’s important that you open the floor and have a conversation. That can be helpful – it certainly helped us last week as far as training and going into the game. You want the players to buy into it as well, which they did.”
There will certainly be a need for grit and commitment at The Wham stadium. Another 0-0 draw would not be a bad result at all even though it would mean that we have played nearly nine hours of football since our last goal. But praying for a goalless draw at Accrington isn't exactly what we had in mind when Thomas Sandgaard took over. We salute the travelling fans.
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