Charlton will be looking to mark their 25th Back To The Valley Anniversary match with a win against the same team they beat at the Valley 25 years ago.
Back to The Valley Anniversary
On the 5th December in 1992, Charlton played their first match at the Valley after being away from their home ground. The Addicks were forced to leave The Valley for eight years before lots of campaigning from Charlton fans meant they finally returned in December 1992. The match they returned was at home to Portsmouth and Charlton won 1-0 thanks to Colin Walsh’s 7th-minute goal. And now just over 25 years later, the match is being repeated.
It is also a big game in terms of the league table. The match is 6th v 8th, meaning it is a crucial battle in the race for the playoffs. The gap between the two sides is six points meaning it is just an opportunity for Portsmouth to close the gap on their opponents. With a win, Charlton could realistically move up to 4th, while a loss for Portsmouth means they can move to as low as 13th. With a Pompey win, Charlton will stay in 6th while Portsmouth can move up a spot to 7th.
Portsmouth are the form game going into this game. They’ve won four of their last five games in the league and FA Cup, keeping clean sheets in three of them. Charlton have had a much worse recent run, winning one of their last five5. The Addicks have also been much worse defensively, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of them and conceding at least two in four of them.
The Addicks will be without Patrick Bauer and Ahmed Kashi after both picked up foot injuries during the week. The centre-back and holding midfielder will both be out for about a month each. However, there is good news for Charlton as all players that did have injuries are returning. Attacking midfielders Billy Clarke and Ben Reeves return meaning Clarke will go straight into the team while Reeves goes on the bench most likely. Chris Solly also returns and so will most likely go straight into the right-back role. Jason Pearce also returns and will most likely start in that centre-back role. Finally, Lennon returns and may appear on the bench for Charlton.
There’s fantastic news for Portsmouth fans as top scorer Brett Pitman is set to return to the side following his hamstring injury. However, there are still doubts over the availability of Ben Close who could be out with a thigh injury. Donohue, Hawkins and Naismith are also doubts. Definitely sidelined for Portsmouth are Lalkovic with an Achilles injury as well as McCrory and Whatmough, who are both out with knee injuries.
With Charlton being at home and above Portsmouth in the League One table, a lot would put their money on the hosts to pick up the points. This coupled with the fact Charlton should be pumped up for the match with it being the Anniversary and such a big match for The Addicks. However, with Portsmouth being on the much better form and with the return of their star man Pitman, I can very much see this ending in a draw.
Prediction: Charlton 1-1 Portsmouth