So far this season has been somewhat disappointing. Losing to a newly promoted side and, by all accounts, deserving to was followed up with a defeat to a team that hadn't won away since December, and had only won three league games in that time (P22 W3 D3 L15). Then last week we managed to go two goals behind to a team that only stayed up last season because they and Huddersfield stopped playing as they thought that a draw was enough for both of them.
I'm, deliberately, ignoring our 4-1 win over forth division Oxford with a reserve team, despite the fact that it was a fun evening.
Thus we are only out of the bottom three on goal difference, and we face the team that also finished in the automatic promotion places last season in a game that would see us above them should we win by two goals, but a massive six points behind them should we lose. Interesting times!
I must confess that I was a little more worried about relegation than many others were last year, and in the end we had such a strong finish to the season that it looked that I worried needlessly, but with modest additions to the squad I believe that the difference between a very good start and a very bad one could well be a challenge for the playoffs in May or a battle to avoid relegation.
I'm not worried at this early stage of the season but, as I've suggested above, the start can have a bigger impact than just the number of points a team has after ten games. Confidence can be vital and I was hoping that we would take our end of season form into the new campaign - something that we have clearly failed to manage.
Tomorrow is a big game. It's not a must win and it's, probably, not a six-pointer over the course of the season, but another defeat and we could fins ourselves scrapping at the bottom until October and that brings pressures that might make it harder to pull up the league.
Without the Skipper we look lost in midfield, and with Bradley Pritchard being absent at the same time we have looked over run. I'm hopeful that Jordan Cousins can step up, but it is asking a lot of a young player to come into the first team (at our level) especially if the team is having a bit of a bad run.
After coming back from 2-0 down last week I'm optimistic that we have 'turned the corner' and that confidence will return and those players that have seemed to be a little off their best will come good. A win tomorrow and a draw at home to Leicester next week and I think we will all be looking up the table again, opposed to looking down.
This could be the last time we get to see one or two of our favorite players as well. Any player that is the subject of a big (relatively) money move will, almost certainly, be rested next week (August 31st) so I'm hoping that we get a good result as otherwise it might be a little while before we feel like smiling again.
Up the Addicks!