Charlton Athletic have every chance of making the League One play-offs this season.
Heading into the final seven matches of the campaign, the Addicks occupy eighth place in the table and are only three points behind Portsmouth, who occupy that final play-off spot – and they hold a game in hand on Pompey, too. Win that game in hand, the south-east Londoners are only five points off Sunderland in third, who they beat last time out.
However, if Nigel Adkins is to steer Charlton back to the Championship within just two months of his arrival at The Valley in March, then he must resolve one of Lee Bowyer’s biggest problems – their abysmal home record.
The Addicks sit 17th in the home league standings for results at The Valley this term – they have won six, drawn five and lost seven on their own patch, picking up just 23 points. That is the same return as Bristol Rovers, who are embroiled in a relegation dogfight, and fewer than every single team above them vying for promotion.
By comparison, the Red Robins are second-best in the division away from home, winning 11 and losing just four of 21 matches – a feat only bettered by Adkins’ former club Hull City.
Therefore, it’s abundantly clear that the Addicks need to quickly improve on their own patch, especially as five of their seven remaining league games are at The Valley.
That starts with Ipswich Town this Saturday, a crucial encounter as defeat could see the Tractor Boys leapfrog Charlton in the table, and that would certainly deal a blow to the Addicks’ hopes of breaking into the playoff zone. Adkins’ men will also face automatic promotion-chasing Peterborough United, fourth-placed Lincoln City and league leaders Hull at home in the coming weeks.
Under Adkins, Charlton are unbeaten in three matches, but each of those has been played away from south-east London, so there has to be some confidence that they can continue that form going into the weekend.
If Adkins can fix the poor home record that Bowyer left behind, then they should easily make the playoffs – and given that 71.5% of their remaining matches are at home, then any improvement would certainly bolster their promotion dreams.
AND in other news, Adkins must wave goodbye to 29 y/o flop, he’s just not good enough…