After a couple of fantastically creamy teatime games against Devon teams this season, Portsmouth are our next seaside visitors in an evening fixture live on Sky next Monday 17th October (8pm kick off).
Pompey are coming to The Valley next Monday night on the back of a stuttering Charlton side's stunning return to form against Exeter City. Certainly, Portsmouth are going to provide stiff opposition in a live TV game that's probably not going to help much-needed match day attendance at this point in time. It would have been great to build on the momentum of Tuesday night's 4-2 win with a bumper Saturday afternoon crowd but alas fixtures are often beyond the control of the clubs that play in them.
Regardless of kick-off time, a tough encounter is expected. These two clubs know each other well, having had quite a few encounters in recent seasons. This year though there's been a world of difference in our performances so far, perhaps aside from those Devon delights against Exeter and Plymouth. In the latter case, we won 5-1 against a side that has surged to the top of the table since then. Similarly, Portsmouth have engaged in a push for the promotion places for most of the season.
Their manager Danny Cowley wasn't too happy at having this labelled as "investing more aggressively in getting promoted" after several years of following a break-even model. The idea of buying their way out of League One did not go down at all well with the folks at Fratton Park.
Cowley, who incidentally is a graduate of Greenwich University, pointed out that Pompey's only big-money signing this season has been that of prolific striker Colby Bishop. He added that this was a case of having to sell in order to buy. It has certainly been a worthwhile investment though.
Colby Bishop has hit seven goals in eleven league games - just over a third of the amount that Charlton as a team have scored in total this season. It would have been almost half if not for those four goals we bagged against Exeter.
The table might look very different if we'd had a striker of Bishop's calibre alongside Jayden Stockley and Miles Leaburn in some of our drawn games (or had Chuks Aneke fit and available all season). Sometimes it just takes one player to change the dynamics in a high-pressing game as Liverpool have learned this season. Somebody like Bishop zipping in around the box could do real damage in a Garner-ball game because when it works, as against both Devon sides, it works very well.
Whoever is up front for us on Monday night, they'll come up against an ex-Charlton man we should all remember well, especially from our finest season of the past decade. Michael Morrison returns to SE7 once again, having swapped the red shirt for a series of blue ones since being almost ever present for us between 2011 and 2014.
As always, he is going to be a formidable opponent and Portsmouth as a whole will be a solid unit, capable of scoring goals and probably feeling that they've a point to prove. Those Greenwich graduates, the Cowley brothers, are a good management team as well. Also, they've got ex-Addick Joe Pigott in their ranks on loan from Ipswich Town with a few points to prove.
Something about all this seems to be heading in a familiar direction, an ex-Charlton connection live in front of the TV cameras, at The Valley. At the same time, our best performances seem to come against the better teams so there are plenty of reasons to go into the game with confidence. It's just a pity to some extent that it is live on TV, kicking off so late on a Monday evening.
Let's hope though it sets us up for a good run in the games to come before the Back to the Valley official match day against Cheltenham on Saturday 3rd December. And just as importantly gives us further reason to celebrate at a certain other Back to the Valley event next Friday night 21st October.