A certain American President was renowned for his honesty. This weekend as Charlton travel northwards again, Ben Garner's men could face their own moment of truth up in the heights of Lincoln's ‘old-school’ Sincil Bank Stadium.
We are heading towards that point in the season when the league table starts to become an honest reflection of where teams are in terms of their hopes and abilities. Some might say the ten game mark tells that truth but in a 46 game season, Match Day 12 might be a better indicator of where we are at.
Fittingly, this weekend's trip is to a team one point above us in the table, having played one games less. Lincoln City are currently sitting in fifteenth place on thirteen points. We are in sixteenth place, on twelve points with fifteen goals for and fifteen goals against. We have those stats mainly because we've drawn six matches so far. That's the joint highest number of draws of any team in the division, alongside Fleetwood who unsurprisingly we drew against on another of our trips north.
At this point, we do need to start turning such draws into wins if we're to push back towards the play-offs. It's fair to say, that we have been damned unlucky at times such as the opening day draw against Accrington Stanley. Even last weekend against Oxford, on the basis of our much-improved second half performance, we should have won yet another drawn game. Despite the result, there were a lot of positives to take from that game.... but we have to become a team for both of the two halves.
We gave Oxford an easy ride in the first half last weekend and from then on it was an uphill struggle. Let's hope the only uphill struggle on Saturday for visiting fans comes in the hilly streets of Lincoln. Unfortunately though, it's not an easy place to visit. Like ourselves, Lincoln have struggled for consistency and momentum this past couple of seasons, bouncing from 5th in 2021 to 17th in 2022.
Again like us, this season they've been leaky at the back - conceding 16 goals in total but sometimes prolific too, such as in their recent Manchester City like 6-3 hammering of Bristol Rovers. On that afternoon, Sunderland loanee Jack Diamond scored a hat trick. He's definitely one for our back line to keep their eye on at the weekend. There might also be a few other aces in the Lincoln pack, with a notable group of Irish players in their squad, probably courtesy of manager Mark Kennedy.
Some might remember where we first encountered the former Republic of Ireland winger. As a sixteen year old, starting out on his career at Millwall, Kennedy scored the only goal on the day of his debut in a 1-0 derby win over Charlton, in April 1993.
These days we have a few impressive teenagers of our own, not least the magnificent Miles Leaburn. However, if the team doesn't get some momentum behind them soon, the winter fixture list could prove to be a heavy burden for so many young shoulders.
Right now we aren't too far off the play-offs and the lesson we can take from Oxford is that we have the ability to turn a corner if we get the right breaks. Hopefully then the turning point comes at Lincoln this weekend and edges us closer to the play-off zone in time for the following Tuesday night rearranged fixture with Exeter City (October 11th).
Were we to take six points from these next two games, the table and the season might look very different. Good luck then to all the fans travelling up to Lincoln at the weekend and let's hope we come away with the whole three points having finally played a game of two halves.