Thursday 14 September 2017

Rebooting the run is the task at Gillingham

The Bloke Behind Me had it in a nutshell on Tuesday night: 'We were beaten by a better team.' Saturday's short trip to Gillingham gives Charlton a chance to reboot their promotion challenge. We have not lost a league game to them since 1928/29. Over 30 games played, we have won 14, drawn 12 and lost four.

Gillingham are currently bottom of League One and are yet to win a match at home. Last season they finished 20th, surviving by the skin of their teeth after Port Vale failed to find a late goal on the final day. This season Four Four Two is forecasting a last place finish.

Fan Danny Smith told the magazine, 'This season will be different to last because we're starting with much lower expectations.' Asked, 'Are you concerned about Gills' lack of firepower, especially with Cody McDonald gone, he replied, 'I am. But then I am pretty concerned about the defence and midfield as well.'

Owner Paul Scally is involved in an expensive legal battle with former club caterers Centerplate which is scheduled to be heard in court before long. Four Four Two refer to 'unsavoury issues behind the scenes.' I don't know what they mean, but it sounds as if the club has bigger woes than Charlton.

For the hosts Lee Martin serves the first of a three match ban following his sending off against AFC Wimbledon. Billy Bingham (concussion) will be assessed up until the last minute to see if he is fit to play. Bradley Garmston (calf) and Aaron Morris (knee) are definitely unavailable although Liam Nash (tonsillitis) will return.

When the Rickshaw was launched Gillingham took exception to what they saw as an invasion of their home turf in the Garden of Kent, but in reality their support is concentrated in the Medway towns. I don't have any figures to hand, but my guess would be that there are more Addicks than Gillingham fans in Kent as they have dispersed from the home boroughs. It is perhaps symbolic that fanzine Voice of the Valley is now produced from the Isle of Thanet.

This is a must win game, but the so-called 'Kent derby' could always provide a banana skin.

Our last two matches against Gillingham at this level ended in 1-1 draws. Match odds are: Gillingham 27/10, Draw 27/10, Charlton 19/20. Odds on Charlton for promotion are 3?1. Relegation 33/1.

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