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Charlton Athletic have another tough test as they look to kickstart their campaign as they welcome Danny Cowley and his Portsmouth side to The Valley.
It has certainly not been the start to the season that The Addicks would have been hoping for under Adkins, with their raft of new signings at the end of the transfer window doing little at present in the way of improving their form, with Athletic still sitting in the relegation places with just five points out of their opening eight league matches.
They extended their winless during midweek as they were held to a draw against Gillingham despite taking the lead in the game, and their inability to see out matches and have the killer, cutting edge to finish teams off is proving the downfall of their problems so far.
They are one of the lowest scorers in the division with just seven goals to their name, and couple that with a disappointing defensive record, it is any wonder why Nigel Adkins’ side have failed to get their season going so far.
The draw in midweek did at least bring an end to their losing run of back-to-back defeats, and so they will be looking to build on the slim ray of comfort that the draw bought as they return to home soil this weekend.
On the flip side, the visitors at The Valley are a Portsmouth side that would have felt an overriding emotion of relief as they managed to battle back to earn a point during midweek against Argyle at Fratton Park, with Sean Raggett popping up with a late equaliser.
However, if ever there was a game that epitomised their struggles so far this season, then that was it. Pompey haven’t exactly been the most free-flowing or efficient of sides going forward thus far this term, with just seven goals to their name so far, and yet in midweek, they managed to get on the scoresheet on two different occasions and not one of those was a defender, with Lee Brown the other Pompey player to get themselves on the scoresheet.
That will be a worry for Cowley, in that their attacking players – the likes of Marquis and Curtis, players that have done well at this level in the past – are failing to get their games going. While a point in midweek against a good Argyle side was a step in the right direction, Cowley will want to see more from his side.
And yet, defensively they have looked good so far, with only six goals against only bettered by two sides in League One, and so defensively there are certainly the foundations there for them to build on.
The Cowley Brothers will no doubt be looking to their attacking players and throwing the gauntlet down to them to up their game, otherwise you can see Cowley going out and making reinforcements in January.
They operated with a front three in midweek against Argyle, with Marcus Harness deployed in a deeper role behind Marquis and Curtis, and while that didn’t exactly fix all of the attacking problems that they have had so far this season, they did look a little more threatening going forward – with Curtis and Harrison involved in the equaliser and so the Pompey bosses will be hoping that this – along with the switch to a back-three system – can help them going forward to be a little more potent in front of goal.
They find themselves 12th at the moment in the division, just two points off the play-offs as it stands, and so while it is not panic stations just yet, they will be eager to step their foot on the gas and take advantage of the opportunity to propel themselves back into play-off contention while the chance is still there.
Prediction: Charlton Athletic 1-1 Portsmouth
Both sides have not looked the most free-flowing or dangerous of outfits in front of goal, and so while that could write the script for a dull affair, so often we see a high-scoring game come out of it (note Luton Town vs Swansea City last weekend).
As it is I think that The Addicks will look to try and just get something out of this one to build on the draw in midweek, and I think they will. I am going for a 1-1 draw, with Lee scoring for the hosts for a second straight league game and Harness scoring for the away side.
One to Watch: Elliott Lee – The loanee midfielder got his first goal for the club as they drew with Gillingham in midweek, and I think that he could well influence the outcome of the proceedings here with another fine display and goal to show for it.
Photo: Below 2020 Media