Oxford v Charlton - Saturday 15:00
Oxford picked up their first point on the road last weekend, holding MK Dons to a 0-0 in front of nearly 4,000 travelling fans. Afterwards, Michael Appleton was eager to paint the result as a milestone in their development, demonstrating the ability to hold their nerve against a team who were playing Championship football last season in one of the division’s biggest arenas.
However, the maturing process of a newly-promoted team is seldom linear and Appleton’s remarks indicate uncertainty - the Yellows aren’t totally sure of their position in the overall pecking order. So a setback on home soil, with all its own pressures, against another club who were two divisions higher last term, wouldn’t be that much of a surprise.
Charlton already know what it’s like to be humbled by such opposition. They were stung by Wimbledon last weekend, conceding twice late on in a game they could have had sewn up long before. But they responded in midweek by battening down the hatches with a rigid 4-5-1 at leaders Scunthorpe, securing a 0-0 that was only in doubt when the Addicks hit the post in stoppage time.
Empowered by that performance, they can add another layer to the miserly approach by growing into this contest and nicking a goal - or two - to take the spoils. Take the 6/1 available on the Draw/Charlton half time/full time. Oxford haven’t been behind once at the break this season - 11 games in all competitions - but they’ve lost the second half on five occasions.