Charlton face a testing time over the festive period with two crucial home games, first against Brighton and Hove Albion on Boxing Day at 12.30 p.m. and then with Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.
Brighton are currently 8th in the table and 4th in the form table. They have lost just one of their last ten matches in the Championship. They have only lost two games away from home, winning four and drawing four. They have achieved this by scoring just eight goals on their travels, but they have conceded just six, the lowest total in the Championship. If it wasn't for their home form, they would be higher up the table.
The last three meetings between the teams have all ended in draws, including both matches between them last season. A 2-2 draw at The Valley was followed by a goalless draw on the South Coast in April. Brighton have won on two of their last three visits to The Valley, including a 4-0 win there in 2010-11 when both teams were in League One. Charlton's last home victory against Brighton was in a Division Two meeting in October 1991.
In their 0-0 draw with Huddersfield at the weekend, the Seagulls wasted numerous chances. Nevertheless, Huddersfield boss Mark Robins said after the game, 'This is the best side we've played this season, without a doubt. The way they play the ball is brilliant and they are steelier than they were last year.'
Liam Bridcutt was the best player for Brighton, a tireless runner on and off the ball. Threatening up front, he often dropped back in support. David Lopez also caught the defence out with his movement. The defence looked very solid.
Ben Alnwick got a rare score of 9 from the Football League Paper for two superb saves on Saturday. Hamer is still not fit, but Alnwick has made a case for staying on when he is. Fortunately, Chris Solly is back and Yann Kermorgant is fully fit, so I wouldn't write this off as three easy points for the Seagulls.
Odds: Charlton 9/5; Draw 12/5; Brighton 7/5.
Chiltern Railways are running a Boxing Day service from Bicester North (please note South Eastern) so I hope to make the game. In the meantime, a happy Christmas to all my readers.