Charlton travels to the New Meadow stadium on the final day of February to take on Shrewsbury Town. The Addicks will be looking for redemption after two back-to-back home defeats against Oxford and Bury. Meanwhile, the Shrews will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to MK Dons, with hopes to return to their recent impressive form.
There is mounting pressure building upon Charlton’s manager, Karl Robinson. The former MK Dons man has failed to show any significant improvement to Charlton’s fortunes since taking over. In fact, Charlton currently sit lower in the league than they did under Russell Slade and interim Kevin Nugent (14th). Controversial owner, Roland Duchatelet could start to become impatient with his most recent manager if he fails to secure all three points on Tuesday night.
Shrewsbury Town have struggeld this season, but recent form has propelled them out of the relegation spots. Notable wins recently against Scunthorpe, Bury, Wimbledon and Oldham means they currently sit at 18th, four points from the dropzone. Paul Hurst’s men will be keen to widen that gap from the bottom four and ensure third-tier football next season.
These two sides last faced each other on the 16th August 2016. At the time Russell Slade was settling into his new role as manager at The Valley, this game being one of the most memorable in his short reign. It was a Tuesday evening under the flood lights, and once the final whistle blew, Charlton secured a promising 3-0 win. This match marked the Addicks’ first win of the season.
In the 22nd minute, new summer signing, Ricky Holmes smashed a long range effort on his right foot from outside the penalty box. The resulting shot launched the ball into the top right corner, Jayson Leutwiler was left overwhelmed.
The second goal came just two minutes later from Charlton skipper, Johnnie Jackson. The proud Charlton Captain got on the end of a loose ball and tapped it home, after the Shrewsbury defence failed to clear an earlier cross.
The final goal of the game came in the 31st minute. Holmes launched the ball over Leutwiler from a direct cross he was taking. The Valley faithful, and the travelling Shrewsbury fans were left astounded by the accuracy and achievement of such a goal.
For Shrewsbury it was definitely a night to forget. However, for the Charlton fans it was arguably one of the most exciting and strongest team performances of the 2016/17 League One campaign.
Charlton will be without their usual right-back Chris Solly as he serves his final match ban after picking up a red card against Oxford United last Tuesday. Jason Pearce will also be unavailable due to a long-term groin injury, as well as Ahmed Kashi who is still recovering from a long-term Achilles injury. The Arsenal loanee, Stephy Mavididi will also be unavailable after being stretchered off in the final minutes of the game against Bury on the weekend. Finally, left-back Adam Chicksen is a doubt due to a knee injury, but could possibly feature on the bench.
Shrewsbury will be unable to field Joe Riley as he is suffering with a hamstring injury. Defender Olly Lancashire is still suffering with a calf problem, and captain Abu Ogogo is likely to be unavailable due to a knee injury. However, midfielder Tyler Roberts, on loan from West Brom, could feature against Charlton.
Expected Starting XIs:
Charlton Athletic (4-2-3-1): Rudd – Page, Teixeira, Bauer, Byrne – Ulvestad, Crofts – Watt, Aribo, Holmes – Magennis
Shrewsbury Town (4-4-2): Leutwiler – Brown, Sadler, Nsiala, Riley – Rodman, Deegan, Yates, Whalley – Roberts, Ladapo
Charlton Athletic are a side currently in freefall. There are clear issues on and off the pitch, evident low morale and arguably no leadership in the side. The fact that the team has experienced two back-to-back defeats at home against teams they should have beat on paper will be disheartening. Shrewsbury will be ensuring that they do not slip up, as a consecutive run of defeats could see them slide back into the drop zone. The Shrews will most definitely be looking for a reaction on Tuesday night.
Charlton have low morale, no leadership and they are a side which looks disjointed. The Addicks’ will be coming up against a side which are fighting to stay in the third-tier of English footbal, which means that Shrewsbury will want the three points more. However, the quality of squads will have an impact and Charlton have to bounce back eventually, and this could be the game to do that. My final prediction is a 1-1 draw at the New Meadow stadium.