They are one of the most turbulent clubs in English football’s recent history but Charlton Athletic look poised for an upturn in fortunes.
As they prepare to visit the Keepmoat this weekend, we spoke to Richard Cawley of the South London Press to get the lowdown on the Addicks.
Q: For what from the outside seems a tumultuous club, Charlton seem to be going all right on the pitch this season. What were the expectations for this campaign and how are results stacking up to that?
RC: The expectations at the start of the season were probably relatively high. Karl Robinson had brought in players to add to what he already had so I think if you’d have asked someone what they expected, they’d have said top six with the top two a bonus.
But the season so far, as it seems every single year, has been affected by injuries. They’ve had loads of injuries at different stages that have impeded their progress.
Jason Pearce is out with a knee injury and he would be the first choice centre back.
Q: How has recent form been?
RC: It’s not been too bad. They managed before the weekend to win their last three in the league to keep themselves firmly in contention for a play-off place.
They conceded two very late goals to lose against Oxford on Saturday so that was a bit of a setback.
Away from home, they’ve steadied the ship a little bit starting with a good point at Wigan and they’ve got the fifth best defensive away record in the league.
Q: How is Karl Robinson currently viewed? And what transfer business did he manage during January?
RC: I think the fans like him. He’s quite honest about the limitations he’s got on him at the moment. The owner Roland Duchatelet is keen to sell and a takeover could go through by the end of the month.
That hasn’t massively helped Robinson in January because he lost one of his star performers Ricky Holmes to Sheffield United and he was only able to do loan deals in that window.
He brought in Stephy Mavididi from Arsenal and Sullay Kaikai from Crystal Palace.
In an ideal world I think Karl was thinking he’d be able to really strengthen in January and have a real good crack at it but it’s not happened.
Q: What style of play and system does Robinson favour?
RC: He’s a 4-2-3-1 man and it doesn’t really differ from that. He’s a big advocate of that system.
They are attacking and they look to entertain. The fans respect what he is trying to do.
Q: Who are the danger men?
RC: Tarique Fosu is a big player for Charlton. He scored six goals in four games – including one against Doncaster – earlier in the season from on the left. He’s been injured but he’s back available now and that is a big boost.
Jay Da Silva is also one to watch. He’ s a really attacking left back so they’re dangerous down that side.
Q: Match prediction?
RC: Because they’ve really tightened up away from home and are on a good run, I’ll go for 1-0 to Charlton.