A fixture which has been few and far between in recent years, Wanderers’ clashes with Charlton Athletic have certainly never been quiet affairs.
With just two stalemates between the two sides since their first meeting back in 1923, the Addicks’ relegation from the Premier League in 2007 meant that the teams would not lock horns again until last season’s clash at the Reebok Stadium – a game which saw the Whites run out 2-0 winners thanks to a late David Ngog brace.
Between their demotion from the top flight and Wanderers’ similar fate back in May 2012, the South London outfit had suffered another blow with relegation to League One in 2009 where they went onto spend three seasons.
A troublesome time for the club, there was to be light at the end of the tunnel in the form of an impressive promotion campaign last May – one which saw the Addicks clinch the league title with a record 101 points accumulated.
A remarkable upturn in fortunes for a club which at one point looked destined to remain in the third tier of English football for the foreseeable future, manager Chris Powell’s return to The Valley was undoubtedly crucial for Charlton.
Having enjoyed spells with the Addicks on three separate occasions, the former Southend United full-back – a firm fan favourite with the club’s supporters – led Charlton to a ninth place finish in their first season back in the Championship last term, just three points short of a play-off berth.
Despite their impressive return to the second tier last season however, the current campaign has proved to be more testing for the club, with the team currently residing in 21st position, a single point above the relegation zone.
Having strengthened their squad during the summer months – most notably with the arrival of seasoned striker Simon Church from Reading – many expected the Addicks to push for promotion once more, but ten defeats in their opening 20 games has halted the club’s progression.
With two wins at home and two away since the start of the season, consistency has proved to be a problem for Powell’s side, with last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Derby their third reverse in four games.
Having overturned a two goal deficit when Wanderers travelled to the capital back in March however to run out 3-2 winners at The Valley, the Whites will certainly be aware of the threat which the Addicks pose come kick off on Saturday afternoon.
Richard Cawley – Charlton Athletic reporter for South London Press
“Charlton are in the kind of position that reflects their lack of spending. Manager Chris Powell has not had a huge budget to wield since promotion from League One and last season’s finish of ninth was achieving above their resources.
“So far the biggest issue for the Addicks has been their lack of goals – they have netted the least in the division. Defensively they tend to look solid but it is supplying creativity and hitting the back of the net that has been the main issue, despite both the playing personnel and formation being tinkered with.
“Their away has been quite good - it’s at The Valley, where the pitch is poor, that they have tended to struggle for results. Playing on the road suits them because there is less onus on them to take the initiative offensively. I think the final score will be a 1-1 draw.”