Exeter – above us in the league

After flying high with a 5-1 thumping of Plymouth a couple of weeks ago, results since then have brought Charlton expectations back down to earth. But can we rise back to those early heights against another West Country side this coming Saturday?

Exeter City come to town on Saturday as a team in contention for the play-off positions, quite an achievement for their manager Matt Taylor. It will be an interesting visit for the former centre-back who played 53 times for Charlton between 2011 and 2013. Earlier in the summer he was linked with the managerial vacancy in SE7 and maybe in other circumstances he might have been sitting in the home dugout (though he has denied any substance to the summer's rumours).

As it is, Ben Garner took charge of the Addicks and his team's performances on home turf so far this season have been mostly positive. Against Exeter we should be aiming for three points although the team from the heart of cider country have form in terms of upsetting the apple cart.

Many of us may remember a particular afternoon about a decade ago that was billed as a party but left us with a nasty hangover. Ten years ago, Exeter City came to town on an afternoon of the first ever incarnation of our infamous 'Football for a Fiver.'

That day they had a certain centre-back in their line up by the name of Matt Taylor and they ended up giving us a second half going over that sparked our slide down the table. That was the first season of Chris Powell's tenure and it took him another transfer window to bring in the players he needed to secure promotion a year later.

After the Bolton game, Ben Garner has suggested that it will take him a couple more transfer windows to get exactly the squad that he desires. He has also suggested that a top six finish with this present group would be an over-achievement. 

So if Saturday's game takes place on the edge of the play off places, does this mean it's a battle between two sides punching above their weight? One thing we definitely have in common is that historically both of our academies have been a production line of talented young players.

Another thing for sure, especially going by past experience, is that Exeter shouldn't be underestimated. They have some decent players including their ex-Academy star and Fulham loanee Jay Stansfield.  They've taken a while to get back to The Valley since their relegation in 2012 but they play with a distinctive style of football that's going to make for an interesting tactical battle on Saturday afternoon.

We badly need three points though to kick life back into our season. These days when you don't get much for a fiver, let's hope we don't give anything away. Three points and a clean sheet would set us up nicely for the rest of September.