Charlton will be hoping for an Upbeat ending when they face Shrewsbury Town in the last home game of an inconstant and inconsistent 2021/22 League One season
We seem to have played Shrewsbury Town a lot in recent years. That's in stark contrast to the thirty year gap in league games between 1986 and 2016. The one time we did meet in that period, we lost 4-3 to then '4th-division' Shrews in the first round of the 2010/11 League Cup, after relinquishing a 3-0 lead. A few years later we'd repeat that score with another 4-3 loss where Ricky Holmes (remember him?) scored a hat trick in a thrilling encounter. That season we were in a similar position to now, sitting around lower mid-table, eventually achieving a 13th placed finish.
With two games left to play, we are again in 13th place after a midweek victory over Cambridge United, sealed by a Conor Washington goal that may well strengthen his expectations of a new contract. Another player who is soon to be out of contract, amongst quite a few, is Ryan Inniss and he is set for a return to action on Saturday following his spell in the sin-bin.
We might well ask then if these last two games of the season are a kind of last chance saloon for those players coming to the end of their contracts. Certainly it appears that no firm decisions have been made on renewals at the minute. We just know that Papa Souare, Ben Watson and Chris Gunter are definitely heading for the exit door.
If others are to follow them, then ideally such players won't be featuring in Saturday's match. At the same time, if we were to give youth a chance and sacrifice points for player development, we could finish in our lowest ever position. Right now, Shrewsbury are six points behind us with two games left. If they were to beat us, they'd be three behind with one match left to play where we're away to Ipswich and they're at home to Wigan who might already be champions by then.
Despite their lowly position we know that they have been a thorn in our side quite often, aside from that infamous 4-3 League Cup game. Back in the 2017/18 League One play off semis they beat us 1-0 in each leg at a time when Lee Bowyer was in charge as caretaker. They then went on to lose that final to Rotherham, then lose their manager and suffer a subsequent decline. They've been hovering around the bottom half of the League table in the four seasons since but have a habit of producing surprise results, with the most renowned being their 2-2 draw with Liverpool in the FA Cup 4th round in 2020.
Hopefully we'll see a few goals and a high scoring game like that this Saturday too. As long as they're at the right end and we don't have another off day like we had against Morecambe last week, maybe we can end the season on an upbeat note.