Charlton Athletic welcome Northampton Town to the Valley this evening knowing that the Cobblers cannot be underestimated.
Northampton ended a 12-game unbeaten run by beating Plymouth Argyle last week before putting four past promotion-chasing Portsmouth in a shock victory on the weekend.
Before those results, Lee Bowyer’s side will likely have viewed this game as an ideal opportunity to claim three points but they’ll know now to expect a tough test.
Charlton have had a shaky recent run, winning just one of their last six and dropping back from the play-off places, and were denied a late win against Oxford United on the weekend after seeing a stoppage-time penalty saved.
However, their remaining five games in March are against sides in the bottom half of the table and if they could put together a winning run it may see them fly back into the top six.
Three points against Northampton would be an ideal way to start that off and with that in mind, we’ve examined the player decisions that Bowyer is facing ahead of tonight’s game…
Whether to risk Adam Matthews and Akin Famewo
Charlton’s back-four kept a clean sheet against Oxford on Saturday but Bowyer may feel that he has to make changes ahead of this evening’s game.
Adam Matthews came off early with a hamstring issue against the Us, while Akin Famewo complained of a tight hamstring after the game.
Chris Gunter could well be set to replace Matthews on the right but Famewo has been ever-present in the starting XI when fit and with Ryan Inniss still out, losing him would be a blow.
Bowyer will have to assess them today and decide whether it’s worth the risk.
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Whether Andrew Shinnie and Darren Pratley should come back into midfield, and who for
The Addicks boss has been keen to rotate his players and freshen things up this season, which has made predicting how his side will line up a fool’s game at times.
With Pratley back available after serving his suspension and Shinnie only featuring from the bench against Oxford, the midfield duo could be two players that return to the starting XI for the visit of the Cobblers.
Should Bowyer look to bring the pair in, it’ll be interesting to see how exactly he lines up his midfield.
Will he go for another flat 4-4-2 with two more attacking players on the flanks, or will he shift to the diamond that he has favoured at times?
Doing the latter would allow him to keep the likes of Jake Forster-Caskey and Ben Watson in the side but would sacrifice width against a Cobblers side that are likely to be compact.
Who starts up top
Goals have been an issue for the Charlton in recent weeks, with the south London side mustering just one in their last three games.
That makes the decision over who should start up top all the more important for Bowyer ahead of the Northampton clash.
You feel that the hosts are likely to be in the ascendancy despite the Cobblers’ recent form, the Addicks boss needs to weigh up who he feels is best set to help them capitalise on that.
Jayden Stockley and Chuks Aneke would seem his most prolific pairing, it’ll be interesting to see whether they get the nod.