Charlton will be looking to increase the points gap over their playoff rivals this Saturday as they host mid-table Walsall.
Charlton made it back-to-back 1-0 wins last Saturday with a win away at bottom side Bury. Mark Marshall’s goal meant Charlton jumped three places and back in to the playoffs. Before that, they beat Oldham by a goal to nil to stop a disastrous nine-game winless run, with Stephy Mavididi’s debut goal proving to be the difference. Despite it being two wins in two, it has been two unconvincing wins against the most out of form teams in the league and with just five substitutes (two of which were carrying knocks) being named for last week’s win, a top six finish still looks an uphill task for Robinson’s men. With the nine game winless run before that, Charlton are still yet to recapture their early season form.
Walsall also suffered a six-game winless run which, after a relatively positive first five games, left them just three points above the drop zone. However, that run was finally put to bed with a 2-1 win over playoff hopefuls Oxford last weekend. Bakayoko and Otzumer’s first half goals proved to be the difference. The Saddlers now sit just four points above the drop zone, however, with at least one game in hand over most teams below them. Should they win that game in hand, they could jump in to the top half meaning it looks like another mid table season for them.
Charlton are set to be given a massive boost this weekend with top scorer Tariqe Fosu returning. The winger has scored seven goals this season and is likely to play his first game since the end of November due to his quad injury. Whether he’ll be fit enough to start or will be just making a return to the subs bench however is unclear. Forster-Caskey and Solly are likely to return to the starting lineup after being on the bench last week due their respective injuries. It means Charlton’s injury crisis is nearing an end, however Jason Pearce, Patrick Bauer, Naby Sarr, Billy Clarke and Lewis Page are all still out injured. Charlton will also have to cope without star player Ricky Holmes after his move to Sheffield United was confirmed during the week.
Walsall were also given a boost in the week with full back Liam Kinsella signing a new contract at the club. The deal keeps him at the club until 2019 and the 21-year-old has started The Saddlers’s last two games. Walsall boss Jon Whitney confirmed during the week that there are no injury concerns for Saturday’s match and he has a fully fresh team to pick from.
Dan Agyei’s late goal salvaged Walsall a point in a 2-2 draw between the sides back in September. It was a frantic final few minutes of the match as Ricky Holmes looked to have secured the Addicks their first win in four matches with a superb volley in the 88th minute. But the hosts responded an astonishing 12 seconds after kick off through Agyei as the spoils were shared. The result meant Walsall kept their unbeaten League One record at the Bescot Stadium and Charlton remained just outside the playoffs.
With the return of Tariqe Fosu and the upturn in results over the last few weeks, I think Charlton will have enough to get the three points and remain in the play off places.
Prediction: Charlton 2-1 Walsall