Burton for the double

This Saturday's home game with Burton Albion isn't Charlton's last chance to complete a home and away double this season but it might be our best chance. Away games at Doncaster, Cambridge and Ipswich still offer us the opportunity to collect six points from a rival but there has been little in the team's recent away form to raise much in the way of expectation.

It is relatively unusual not to manage at least one double in a season and we have only failed to do so twice in the last decade.

Not surprisingly, the relegation season of 2019/20 is one of those occasions although, when we had already won at Blackburn and Reading before the end of August, hopes were high. However, we had to wait until February for the next away win (that memorable night at Forest) and, although we won at Hull in the first game behind closed doors, we didn't manage to beat any of those teams at home.

2013/14 is mainly remembered for the sacking of Chris Powell and for the avoidance of relegation under Jose Riga. We had a highly impressive collection of away scalps that season - Blackburn, Birmingham, Forest, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday (thankyou Marvin) and Blackpool - but we again failed to beat any of them at The Valley.

It was November when we came away from The Pirelli Stadium with a 1-0 win courtesy of Ben Purrington's headed goal after Deji Oshilaja and Jayden Stockley had been sent off. The result meant that we rose to 17th place and Burton dropped to 13th. Not a great deal has changed since then. We are now 16th and Burton 14th and both clubs are in a poor run of form. Until they saw off Fleetwood with two late goals on Tuesday evening Burton had only won once in eleven games and they have conceded 17 in their last 6. Their defensive record (58 conceded) is one of the worst outside the bottom four.

Tuesday's win against Gillingham undoubtedly papered over a few cracks and we shouldn't overlook the fact that, but for a poor goalkeeping error, we would have only shared the points. Nevertheless, as Johnnie Jackson commented this week, it is a "big monkey off our back" and, with Washington and Blackett-Taylor making encouraging returns, we might hope for a general increase in confidence.

Burton are one of the clubs we need to catch if we are to avoid our lowest finish for nearly fifty years. We are hopeful that we will win on Saturday and thereby leapfrog Cambridge and be within one point of Burton. Accrington will then be in our sights. It is heady stuff, isn't it ?