Not since Paddy McCarthy rose highest from a corner to head home a stoppage-time winner against Stockport County in 2007 have Charlton Athletic won a second round League Cup tie. Even then, with a 2-0 lead thrown away and needing to come from 3-2 behind to win, the Addicks did their absolute utmost to get knocked out.
In the seven seasons since then, lower league opposition have dumped Charlton out of the competition on four occasions. Teams from the same division inflicting misery the other three times.
While, on paper, playing against League One opponents who have had a poor start to the season offers an in form Charlton a fantastic chance to progress to the third round, suggesting that they’re already as good as through is incredibly naïve.
Not only does history suggest Guy Luzon’s side could potentially suffer an embarrassing defeat, but so too does the growing injury list the head coach has to contend with. Given that several players will be unavailable, and risking further knocks ahead of Saturday’s Championship game at Wolves would be unwise, a fully rotated side is likely.
So too will Peterborough, a side totally different to the one that shared a division with the Addicks as recently as 2012/13, want to prove themselves against Championship opposition. A number players will certainly be motivated for this tie.
Charlton, however, should still have enough to avoid slipping up. They must be weary, of course, of the threat Posh will pose, but simply avoiding complacency should see them through.
LAST MEETING – PETERBOROUGH UNITED 2-2 CHARLTON ATHLETIC
A promising Charlton performance, worthy of all three points, and a lively atmosphere in Peterborough’s fantastic away terrace made for an enjoyable night at London Road in March 2013.
Perhaps it is remembered most for the lengthy rendition of “Johnnie, oh Johnnie Jackson runs down the wing for me” after the skipper finished from Callum Harriott’s through ball after Danny Swanson had given Posh the lead.
And while Danny Haynes bundled the ball over the line following a goal mouth scramble to give the Addicks a deserved lead, Peterborough ultimately drew level. Michael Bostwick given the space to shoot from the edge of the box, and rifle an effort into the bottom corner of David Button’s goal.
Once a club too good for League One but not quite good enough to remain in the Championship, and one respected throughout the Football League for their talent identification and attacking football, Peterborough have regressed a little in recent seasons.
Not dramatically, with the club finishing ninth last season, but Dave Robertson’s young side are not expected to challenge for promotion during this campaign.
That belief supported by the start they have made to this season. Although unfortunate to suffer defeat at Burton Albion on Saturday, with the ten men of Posh denied what seemed like a legitimate late equaliser by a bizarre shirt pulling call, it was their third league defeat from the first four games of this season.
Peterborough progressed to the second round by beating Crawley 2-0, with goals from Connor Washington and Marcus Maddison.
The Addicks, in the first weeks of the new campaign, have laughed in the face of those who suggested they would face a relegation struggle this season.
So too have they exceeded the more realistic expectation that their start wouldn’t return too many points. Ten points gained from QPR, Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Hull City is quite some return.
And while Posh suffered frustration late on at the weekend, Charlton’s confidence was boosted further by an incredible stoppage-time win against Hull.
Having conceded an equaliser in the final minute of normal time, and been saved by the assistant’s flag during eight minutes of additional time, Johann Berg Gudmundsson turned in Simon Makienok’s headed pass to secure victory in the 98th minute.
The Reds beat Dagenham & Redbridge 4-1 to reach this stage of the competition, with goals from Tony Watt, Karlan Ahearne-Grant and Zakarya Bergdich giving them a 3-0 lead at The Valley, before Christian Doige reduced the visitors’ deficit to two. But Reza Ghoochannejhad restored Charlton’s three goal advantage soon after.
Former Charlton goalkeeper Ben Alnwick will wear the captain’s armband on Tuesday night with regular Peterborough captain Zakuani suspended after the defender’s sending off at the weekend.
Shaun Brisley is expected to come in at centre-back but Jack Baldwin, having returned to training, could also be in contention to replace the skipper.
Elsewhere, full-backs Michael Smith and Kgosi Ntlhe are a doubt having missed Saturday’s defeat to Burton through injury, but Harry Beautyman and Jack Collison are expected to return.
Charlton could be without up to nine players for their trip to London Road on Tuesday.
Joining long-term absentees Stephen Henderson, Franck Moussa and Igor Vetokele are Tony Watt, Chris Solly, Johnnie Jackson and Reza Ghoochannejhad, who missed Saturday’s game against Hull, and Cristian Ceballos and El-Hadji Ba, who were forced off during the win.
It leaves the Addicks with just 17 players who have a squad number, many of who Luzon will want to rest or have minimal first team experience.
The situation could see the likes of Naby Sarr, Karlan Ahearne-Grant and Callum Harriott come into the starting XI, while Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Harry Lennon and Mikhail Kennedy may also be called upon.
KEY BATTLE – CHARLTON’S YOUNGSTERS STANDING UP TO THE TEST
Irrespective of Charlton’s injury crisis, Luzon should still be able to name a side of superior quality to the one that Robertson will select.
Nick Pope’s blunder on Saturday should not taint the fine work he has done otherwise, Patrick Bauer is likely to continue in defence, while the tireless Ahmed Kashi is available for selection in midfield.
So too are Saturday’s heroes Gudumundsson and Makienok in line to start, although Luzon will probably rest the pair.
But Peterborough will look to take advantage of the Addicks in the areas of the pitch that are likely to feature inexperienced youngsters.
Sarr, having signed from Sporting Lisbon, will make only his second appearance in English football should he start at centre-back at London Road, Charles-Cook, not totally convincing in his first league appearance on Saturday, will play either at right-back or in midfield, and the need to rest players could see Mikhail Kennedy make his first professional appearance.
So while the regular starters will simply need to avoid complacency, those who have rarely started a game before in their career will face a decent standard test from those of decent quality in Peterborough’s side. From the experienced Bostwick to promising summer addition Souleymane Coulibaly.
Should the youngsters stand up to the test, then you can’t look past a Charlton win.
Injuries could make it tougher than first anticipated when the draw was made, but we’re all going on a League Cup third round tour, a League Cup third round tour, a League Cup third round tour. Peterborough United 0-2 Charlton Athletic.