Like every other Charlton fan, I hope Richard Murray makes a full and quick recovery. There are going to be celebrations to be had before long and nobody deserves to be a part of them more than him.
At least ‘doing the maths’ is getting simpler. We’ve had our worst spell of the season. Every team has to have one and as the previous hiccups amounted to losing a game and only drawing at home there’s no doubt that one win and four points in five games amount to a stumble. Not yet a crisis. There must have been some element, however unconscious, of the stoppage time swings when we were away at Bournemouth leaving the job all but done. It wasn’t and isn’t, but the period of rude awakening ended with Huddersfield.
We now have a mini-season of seven games to win. 98 points guarantees us the title of champions, 96 automatic promotion (we are for the record one point shy of an assured play-off spot, but let’s not go there). That means targets of 16 and 14 points respectively from seven games. Sure we won’t end up needing that many (Huddersfield will be up against Sheff Wed next Saturday), but it might not be more than a few less. The possibility of us coasting to the line disappeared with the recent spell, there are three below us in good form and capable of closing the gap, and the fact that there are three closely grouped chasing at least one automatic spot means that it’s highly unlikely that more than one, if any, will end up falling away and having to settle for the play-offs.
We are in a great position still, as Sir Chris says, but the way the league has evolved means it’s far from comfortable. Of the remaining seven, I’d guess we will need to win four to go up, at the least three. Of course we’ll take each one as it comes and there’s no question that Saturday’s game against Leyton Orient – OK every one now – is vital. A win and the target can be at most 11 points from six for a guaranteed top-two finish.
They always say it’s about accentuating the positive. We’re back in a scrap and it’s up to us to prove we are worthy of promotion/being champions. It’s a challenge. This team/squad has come up to the mark in nearly all the key ones to date this season and it’s time for them to make us proud again (and for us to give them every ounce of support). I’ve no idea who will get the nod to start the game, with presumably one of Stevens, Pritchard or Hughes coming in to partner Hollands, while the wide positions and the front two will be down to whether Kermorgant, Jackson and Green are available, plus how Wagstaff and Cook are shaping up, what mix of the others looks right.
I was stuck in a bar in Seville for the away game against Orient. They did a job on us that day after Hamer’s sending off. Time for us to return the compliment to start the mini-season off right.