An uphill battle awaits at Bolton

On our visit to Bolton at the weekend, a win is surely No 1 on our bucket list of things to bring back.

Back on a grey and grim afternoon in October when we faced Bolton at The Valley, the more optimistic of us still held some hope of a pre-Christmas surge towards the play-offs. Now, on the other side of Christmas, as we head north for a return match with one of the division's leading lights, we've sunk southwards in the league table.

Though not completely unthinkable in the autumn, we never expected to be where we are now, asking ourselves if we're so big as to be unsinkable. Tuesday night's draw against Lincoln provided some flashes of what we might expect from a full strength team.

The return of Panutche Camará and a fit again Chuks Aneke, alongside a first goal for Freddie Ladapo provided some much-needed positivity. But Bolton are likely to be a much different proposition to Lincoln. With games in hand, they're sitting third in the table, just behind Portsmouth and Derby County; both of whom The Addicks have to face in coming weeks.

That's certainly a baptism of fire for new boss Nathan Jones, though Bolton have had a slight dip in form since the turn of the year. Last weekend they drew with Northampton and in midweek had a narrow win against an in-form Wycombe side.

They have been boosted though by the return of their captain Gethin Jones from Asian Cup duty with Australia; he's one of several internationals in their side. These include bustling Northern Irish striker Dion Charles who troubled our defence greatly in the reverse fixture and scored Bolton's second goal of that afternoon.

Hopefully, with a stronger team available and Nathan Jones developing a sense of the settled formation he wants to play, we can defy the odds and come away with something. Even a point would be nice, though at this stage we really could do with all three.

Jones himself remains upbeat:

"I saw a  categorical difference tonight in intensity and the way we played from Saturday. If we have that upgrade week in and week out then we are going to be a good team. They are all tough games – this is League One. It is going to be brutal at times. Games will be different but all we can do is build – we face who we face – and we go into each game with respect but no fear."