As far as I can make out from the weather forecast, which seems to have more than the usual uncertainty attached to it, there could be quite a bit of rain overnight and in the morning in SE7, and it could extend it to the afternoon. Wet conditions never make for the best football with the risk of a fluke ball leading to a goal, invariably against us.
It is clear that Doncaster will be no pushovers after their 2-2 draw away to Wigan earlier in the week (although I did not pick the Latics for an immediate return to the Premiership and I think they may find the Championship quite testing). Earlier in the week one of the Doncaster players was talking of them being promotion contenders. That does seem quite a large claim, but possibly if you aim for promotion you might end up with mid-table consolidation which would surely be a more realistic aim for the season after promotion.
Four Four Two has them down as finishing 23rd which seems harsh to me even if some describe them as a 'pub team having a laugh'. What they showed last year was they could soak up pressure, work tirelessly and battle out results which was true of the Charlton side last season, especially away from home.
Last Saturday Doncaster certainly didn't chicken out when they beat Blackburn 2-0 at home. Theo Robinson had just had one session training with the team but the former Derby marksman scored on his debut wit a header just before half-time. James Husband was the creator on that occasion and he added a second after the break.
In goal former Chelsea stopper Ross Turnbull was never tested. Former Oldham full back Reece Warba put in a good performance. New South African signing Bongani Khumalo looked promising. Skipper Rob Jones leads by example as centre back and is capable of scoring. David Cotterill scored some wonder goals last season and is always a threat from midfield. Former Leicester midfielder Richie Wellens also performed well. In other words, they have a number of players who could test us. We will be without Johnnie Jackson who is still troubled by his calf injury and I think that the skipper always adds solidity to our performance.
Former Oldham boss Paul Dickov replaced Brian Flynn when he made it clear that he wanted to return to youth development work after securing promotion. Charm merchant Dickov is no favourite of mine as I recall him spitting at the Addickted at Blackpool when he was still playing. Dickov is in confident mood and says that his team are capable of winning every game this season, which would be an incredible feat. He does, however, say that Charlton are a 'good team' which gives him an alibi if Rovers fail to leave with all three points tomorrow: Dickov
We put in a poor performance against Middlesbrough at home and only really played in the second half against Barnsley. Chris Powell would give morale a boost by starting Jordan Cousins.
The boo boys were out in force at the end of the 'Boro game. Apart from a few constant critics of Chris Powell who accuse him of tactical naivety and general incompetence, no one is on the manager's back which is not to say that he is perfect. The squad does need strengthening, particularly in midfield, but this is understandably difficult when the club has made a loss for the last two seasons and is also constrained by the Football League's version of financial fair play which in short mean 'to them that hath shall be given.'
Before the start of the season, I had this down as a home win, but I am less optimistic now and it could well be a draw. It is a match we need to win.
Odds: (Coral) Charlton Evens, Draw 12/5, Doncaster 11/4. The odds on us being relegated have shortened from 7-1 to 5-1 since the beginning of the season.