Ten men again. Parkinson made some comments about how it's hard to play against ten men after we drew at Brighton, and I suspect he will mention it again after today's game.
In his defence, we have beaten both Bournemouth and Orient with ten men, so there is clearly something in it. Also there is no way to know if we'd have even drawn these two games if we'd been playing against eleven for 90 minutes.
In all honesty I'd have taken two points from these two away games. The postponed game from Boxing Day looks more interesting now, but I have serious doubts about our ability to beat Southampton and I think they may well be in the top two for the rest of the season. I know the table is very tight, but they started badly and their results since Pardew left have been Championship form, and they clearly have the strongest squad in the division, and they have had over a year for the majority of the players to gel.
Brighton are probably, despite their 5-0 win today, the one most worried about our new owners and the potential we have to strengthen our squad, but to be fair they are now six points above both us and Southampton, and we have to pay each other twice before the end of the season, and they seem to have recovered from their dip in form.
Strangely I feel a lot less optimistic than I did yesterday, but due to my iPad literally eating my preview yesterday, you wouldn't know anything about that. I am most confident that we will be able to finish in the top six, but the top two seems a lot more difficult. I think my enthusiasm has probably been affected by losing at home to Walsall and then drawing two games where we had more than a half against ten men. Having said that a new face or two in January and a couple of wins and that could all change.
In all honesty it was always a bit unrealistic to expect us to finish two positions higher than last season with the players we lost in the summer. Despite Bailey not playing all that much for Middlesborough and them being in a relegation fight, Shelvey and Sam were important last season, and haven't been replaced.
It does leave me believing that the transfer dealings in January are going to be very important, as is the fact that we will now miss Benson for three games at a time when Sodje and Anyinsah are injured.
It is very unusual for a January signing to make much impact during the season they are signed, but it is possible that a new face, or two, could make all the difference in the same way that Anyinsah made an instant impact when he came into the side back in September.
It s clear that we do need to add something that we seem to be lacking. We have not played very well this season despite having some good, and some great, results. Maybe one addition or two, of proper quality, will make all the difference.
Despite the fact the new ownership makes the club viable if we don't win promotion this season, I don't want to be in this pants division for another year. I want to get back to the Premier League, and despite the fact that I am willing to accept less than that, I want to be in and around the playoff places in the Championship as soon as possible.
So today was acceptable, we scored three more goals than last season, while conceding the same number, and we managed a point to follow up the one from Brighton.
The next few weeks will shape our season, but then I've been saying that for about three years now. Parkinson has done ok with his squad building, in my view, so I'm confident that if he is given license to bring in a couple of players we will be better equipped for the run in.
Let's hope so.
Up the Addicks!