Pompey v Charlton: the opposition view
It has been a really streaky season at The Valley, with periods of excellent runs and spells when they've been unable to buy a win.
Yet, presently, Charlton sit fifth in League One within the play-off positions.
The season started really well under Karl Robinson, then injuries took hold and the team went nine league games without a win – including a home loss to Pompey.
There was a little resurgence in January, then it all went a bit stale before Lee Bowyer took over.
That pretty much sums up the campaign.
Last month saw the departure of Robinson for Oxford United – an outcome which changed the course of the season at The Valley.
With a takeover in the offing and two interested parties, the manager was told that he wouldn’t have a job under either. Each prospective owner wanted to bring in their own man.
So he departed and up stepped his assistant, Bowyer, somebody with little coaching experience, but is learning quickly.
He’d had a few weeks at Watford helping Harry Kewell with their under-23s, then a year ago arrived at Charlton to help out with the midfield. By the start of the season he was Robinson’s assistant.
Then he stepped in as caretaker manager and it was almost as if someone had flipped a switch, the team became rejuvenated.
They beat Plymouth, Northampton and Rotherham in his opening three matches and it was soon announced he would oversee the team for the remainder of the season.
Charlton went off the boil a little bit until the midweek 2-0 victory at Shrewsbury – the first game of his target of three wins out of four.
Bowyer is very popular with the fans, a relationship stretching back to his playing days when he came through the Addicks’ ranks to become Britain’s most expensive teenager when sold to Leeds.
He is forthright with views and explains decisions clearly, while has introduced the 4-4-2, sometimes in a diamond and others a flat midfield.
In terms of players, Tarique Fosu-Henry is the dangerman and makes things happen, creating chances and scoring nine times.
He collected an injury against Pompey in the Checkatrade Trophy in November and was largely absent throughout that winless run, which says everything.
Jason Pearce has also performed well, despite suffering a number of injuries during the campaign.
He is the bedrock in defence and on Tuesday night scored his first goal for a year in that 2-0 victory over Shrewsbury. He has formed a strong partnership with Patrick Bauer.
– LOUIS MENDEZ - South London Press