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Preview: Charlton Athletic Vs Rotherham United

An attempt to lay a foundation has been made, but it remains unclear if that attempt will prove to be successful.

If Charlton can take the organised, resolute and determined display against Wolves, duly rewarded with a first point in three, forward and build some substance upon it, then the fears of being sucked into a relegation battle will quickly be calmed.

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For there is certainly more work to do. There was plenty of positives to take from Guy Luzon’s first game in charge of the Addicks, but a lack of self-belief and potency in attack was still evident. The threat going forward, and the goals, needed for Charlton to win games still lacking.

And Saturday’s game at The Valley against Rotherham is realistically a game the Addicks must win. Sides in the bottom third of the table are beginning to pick up points, and this is the sort of contest Charlton desperately need to claim three points from.

But should the determination of the Wolves performance not be emulated, and a tameness in attack remain, then those foundations will quickly cave in on themselves. A failure to record all three points against the Millers will leave Charlton in a rather uncomfortable position in the table, and with just one win in 15 league games.

By 5pm on Saturday, it will be fairly evident whether the end to this season will be a relatively incident-free one, or a stressful slog to the final weeks.

LAST MEETING – ROTHERHAM 1-1 CHARLTON

Luciano Becchio’s header secured a point for Rotherham as Bob Peeters’ Charlton performed a little lethargically on their first visit to the New York Stadium.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s excellent strike gave Charlton the lead towards the end of the first half, but the Addicks lost their composure after the break.

In fact, there was something of a feeling that they were quite fortunate Becchio’s goal was the only one Rotherham managed to score. The Millers much the better side in the second half, but lacked a real cutting edge to provide a real threat in front of goal.

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FORM

Rotherham: WLLLDD

Having gone five without a win in all competitions, Tuesday’s emphatic 4-2 victory over Bolton came just as it seemed confidence among Steve Evans’ side was descending into an un-revivable state.

It also moved them five points above the bottom three, and means Rotherham now head into Saturday’s fixture brimming with the confidence that a win of that nature provides.

Alas, the Millers have won just twice away from home all season. Wins by a margin of one against fellow strugglers Millwall and Wigan the only times fans of the Yorkshire club have been able to celebrate three points on the road this season.

Charlton: DLLLLD

No win in eleven in all competitions, just one victory in 16 and two goals scored in the previous seven fixtures. To call Charlton’s current form disastrous would be a little too kind.

And while the performance against Wolves offered hope of future improvement, there remains a number of problems to solve.

Confidence, unsurprisingly, is low, ball retention is very poor and a genuine threat in attack is effectively non-existent.

There also remains a feeling that should Charlton concede, heads will drop immediately and something resembling a disaster will follow.

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THE OPPOSITION

Evans is likely to name an unchanged XI following his side’s victory over Bolton in midweek.

Rotherham’s boss has been busy in the transfer market, with new additions Zreki Fryers and Conor Sammon making an immediate impact.

There should also be a place from the start for former Addick Frazer Richardson, while Richard Wood could be on the bench.

THE ADDICKS

Charlton will have Christophe Lepoint available after the Belgian midfielder completed his move from Gent.

The 30-year-old, however, hasn’t played since Boxing Day, so is unlikely to be fit enough to make his full debut against Rotherham.

But one man who could finally be fit enough to start a game for the Addicks is Tony Watt, who would come in for Callum Harriott in attack should that be the case.

Elsewhere, Johnnie Jackson hoped for a return this week, and the skipper would surely come back into the side should that be the case.

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KEY BATTLE: THE TAME VS THE TOOTHLESS

Only Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool have scored fewer goals this season than Charlton (24). Rotherham have scored just one more.

No club has conceded less than Charlton (34) outside the division’s top nine. Rotherham have conceded just one more.

In other words, if you’re turning up at The Valley on Saturday, you might want to bring a phone with you and watch some YouTube compilation clips, because there’s not going to be many scored live.

Such statistics suggest that it would be a shock if more than a goal separates the sides. Two decent defences playing against two forward lines who are painfully poor in front of goal.

This is, after all, a Charlton side who haven’t scored a league goal for over a month.

But it was less than a fortnight ago when the Addicks let in five, and Rotherham come into the game having notched four times in midweek.

If the Millers grab the game’s first goal, their confidence will multiple and heads will once again drop in the Charlton side.

It’s absolutely vital that Luzon’s side score first, or at least keep it tight for as long as possible.

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PREDICTION

With a disgusting display two weeks ago and one with battling qualities seen last week, it’s hard to know which Charlton will turn up. Regardless, one with a bit of firepower is needed or it’s going to be another frustrating afternoon in SE7. Charlton Athletic 1-1 Rotherham United

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