Lee Bowyer’s Charlton Athletic side fought their way back to the Championship this season after a three-year absence, having overcome Sunderland in the League One Play-Off final at Wembley last May.
A flying start to this season saw the Addicks at the sharp end of the table in the early throes of league action, but they have since struggled and currently sit just one point above the bottom three.
With just four matches remaining to save their Championship status, Bowyer’s men will be fighting tooth and nail to get three points on the board against the Royals at The Valley on Saturday lunchtime. With that, here’s the story of Charlton’s season, so far…
A bright start on Championship return
The Addicks made a seemingly seamless transition to life back in the second tier, with a busy summer in the transfer market enabling Bowyer’s side to settle straight back into the Championship.
The Addicks celebrate a winner by Lyle Taylor on the opening weekend, away at Blackburn
They got off to a superb start, too - with four wins in an unbeaten first six matches of the season. The reverse fixture against the Royals at Madejski Stadium ended in victory for the Addicks at the end of August, with a relaxed stroll to the penalty spot in lieu of a run-up from top scorer Lyle Taylor leading to a well-taken goal, after Jonathan Leko’s opener on the day that condemned Reading to a 2-0 defeat in RG2.
Lean winter leads to a tumble down the table
Charlton were going well in the Sky Bet Championship after the first month of the season, but the autumn and winter months saw victories become increasingly difficult to come by.
Despite excellent home wins and clean sheets against Leeds United and Derby County, those were part of a run that saw Charlton win just three out of 24 matches in mid-season, leaving them to gradually fall down the league standings.
Dejection as Huddersfield snatch a 1-0 win in the 92nd minute in December - a ninth straight winless game
With their strong start to the season sustaining them, the Addicks have only been in the bottom three after one round of fixtures - which happened to be the final match before lockdown.
Addicks sitting just above danger heading into final four
While Charlton are just above the relegation zone as it stands, their home form has been considerably better than their exploits on the road.
Eight of the Addicks’ 12 victories this season have come at The Valley, with a positive goal difference at home showing they are a difficult team to break down at their home ground - with their defensive nous showing by keeping three clean sheets in their five matches so far since football’s return - earning a pair of vital victories in the process.
Jason Pearce's early goal proves the difference as Charlton earn a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Hull in their first game back after the restart
Charlton almost upset the odds against Brentford last time out, having led for the majority of the match through a strike from Macauley Bonne, before the promotion-chasing Bees struck twice in the final 15 minutes to overturn the unfortunate Addicks in midweek.
How they last lined up...
Charlton Athletic: Phillips, Lockyer, Pearce, Sarr, Matthews, Cullen, Field (Pratley 56), Forster-Caskey (Morgan 72), Doughty (Oshilaja 72), Williams (Lapslie 56), Bonne (Aneke 79).
Unused subs: Amos, Purrington, McGeady, Davison.