Another decisive day against Carlisle?

Every so often Carlisle United pitch up in our history. They've been part of a glorious ending to two of our most memorable seasons - 1986 and 2012. And here they are again ....

As soon as Carlisle won the League Two play-offs last season, Charlton fans were eyeing the fixture list, hopeful of another promotion-winning encounter. But this season, until our recent burst of form leading up to Tuesday night's crucial win over Cheltenham, we've not quite been at the races when it mattered.

Maybe it's to do with some ancient Cumbrian folklore or superstition. Going up to Carlisle in the spring brings Charlton promotions, as surely as we always beat Sunderland in play-offs. But this time, with Carlisle coming to The Valley, we've been battling at the opposite end of the division.

Thankfully, games against The Cumbrians usually end up as a Charlton win, ever since we first faced them in the 1960s. The reason for such a late start to our encounters is that they spent most of their early life far away from us in the old Third Division North. But this season we've been maybe too close for comfort at the southern end of League One! Unlike the three clubs they got promoted with in 2022/23 - Leyton Orient, Stevenage and Northampton - The Cumbrians have struggled. They are 15 points away from safety, League One's basement boys already look doomed and have lost nine of their last ten games.

Having come through a series of games against much tougher opponents, the Addicks should certainly be optimistic about getting something from the game. Nathan Jones has certainly taken heart from the Cheltenham result, which also saw the out-of-sorts Alfie May getting back on the scoresheet. The gaffer will also be relieved to get a home match this weekend in a time when the games are coming "thick and fast."

Five out of his seven games in charge so far have been away from home. No doubt a great Valley welcome will await him and the team on Saturday. A while back we thought this might be a six pointer. Now with such thoughts gradually being put to bed, we look forward to six great results on the trot.

And maybe next season get promoted without Carlisle on the fixture list, unless our visitors somehow manage a great, great escape of their own.