We always win at Portsmouth

The bizarre team selection and spineless performance at Oxford leave our supporters with very few straws to clutch at ahead of the game at Fratton Park on Sunday.

At this rate we could be in the bottom four after the Lincoln game on January 7th. It is unlikely that there are any Charlton supporters still alive who have seen the club in such a low position because you would have to be a hundred years old and  been taken to The Valley as a three year old to have witnessed such a dire predicament.

We could try to pretend that Portsmouth are as bad as we are. It is true that Sunday's encounter will be a match between the two clubs joint bottom of the form table without a win in a combined sixteen games. It is true that Pompey haven't won a League game since 22nd October and that they haven't won any of their last eight home games. It is true that we beat them 3-0 at The Valley back in October.

But on Thursday they came within five minutes of beating promotion-chasing Ipswich while we were humbly submitting to Oxford. They also have a proper goal scorer in Colby Bishop who has ten League goals and fourteen in all competitions. Their team on Thursday contained no teenagers. It included hardened professionals like Michael Morrison (600 appearances), Marlon Pack (500) and Sean Raggett (300)  - some of which were at Championship level. Their left back Zach Swanson is a left footed player. When we beat them in October we had Egbo, O'Connell and Sessegnon playing in defence and Fraser in midfield. The truth is that they simply are not as bad as us and, as Steve Brown said yesterday, manager Danny Cowley will be gearing his team up to come out at us all guns blazing on Sunday right from the start in an attempt to destroy any shreds of confidence we might have mustered.

Are there any real straws to clutch at? Well, Dean Holden must surely name a more realistic starting eleven, even if his options are limited in defence. Despite their shortcomings, the returns of Fraser, Blackett-Taylor, Rak-Sakyi and Sessegnon would surely pose more questions and, in Miles Leaburn, we have the hottest marksman in League One with a goal every 97 minutes.

A defence including Chin, Ness and Lavelle did keep Brighton out for ninety minutes only a week ago.

And then, of course, there is our extraordinary record at Fratton Park. We have won the last six games there and nine of the last ten. Does that really mean anything when only Clare and Dobson from last night's starters were in the team that won 2-1 there last season? We can only hope that in some weird way some confidence is inspired by it. It is what keeps us (or some of us) going.


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