MX23RW : Wednesday, September 19 09:33:51
Apr 26, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​The Valley
CharltonCharlton Athletic
1-3
BlackburnBlackburn Rovers
Sordell (54')
Fox (37')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Gestede (26'), Keane (51'), Cairney (63')

Preview: Charlton Athletic vs. Blackburn Rovers

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between relegation-threatened Charlton Athletic and playoff hopefuls Blackburn Rovers.

Of all the teams still facing the possibility of relegation from the Championship this season, Charlton Athletic are the best-placed to survive.

The Addicks go into Saturday's match at home to Blackburn Rovers with a two-point lead over 22nd-placed Blackpool as well as a superior goal difference and a game in hand.

However, there have been plenty of twists and turns in the battle against the drop so far, and Charlton will not relax until they are mathematically safe - nor can they afford to.

That scenario could happen this weekend, however, with Blackpool facing a tricky away trip to take on Wigan Athletic. Should Charlton win and the Seasiders fail to win, then the Addicks would be safe.

That would justify the board's decision to sack Chris Powell and bring in Jose Riga, a decision that betrayed the increasing panic at The Valley. However, there is no doubt that the Belgian has improved results at the club, with five wins, five defeats and three draws since taking over.

The team has shown plenty of fight as well. Many sides in their position may have collapsed when they found themselves 2-0 down inside eight minutes against Sheffield Wednesday on Easter Monday, but the Addicks fought back to win 3-2 courtesy of a Marvin Sordell hat-trick.

Their home form could do with improving, however, with their only victory at The Valley in their last five games coming against bottom club Yeovil Town.

Rhoys Wiggins remains sidelined for the hosts and will not feature again this season, but Chris Solly could come back into the team.

Blackburn, meanwhile, still have a slim chance of reaching the playoffs this season but could see those dreams extinguished even if they do pick up the win this weekend.

Three points separate them from sixth-placed Reading, but Blackburn's inferior goal difference means that a win for the Royals on Saturday would leave Rovers needing an unrealistic goal swing as well as numerous other results to go their way.

Instead, Gary Bowyer will be looking to keep up his side's good recent form that has seen them go 10 matches without losing, a run that stretches all the way back to March 12.

While any undefeated spell of that length is impressive, Blackburn have drawn six of the 10 games and it is those dropped points that could ultimately see them miss out on the playoffs.

It is a similar story away from home, where they have lost just one of their last nine games and two in the 11 since the turn of the year. Once again, though, the draws have outnumbered the wins in that time.

Tommy Spurr is expected to be fit enough to start for the visitors, but Ben Marshall will definitely miss out through injury.

Recent form

Charlton: LWLLDW

Blackburn: DWWDDW

Possible starting lineups

Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Dervite, Morrison, Wilson; Harriott, Jackson, Poyet, Cousins; Ajdarevic; Sordell

Blackburn: Robinson; Kane, Kilgallon, Hanley, Spurr; Cairney, Evans, Lowe, Conway; Rhodes, Gestede

Sports Mole says: 2-2

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Manager Jose Riga of Charlton Athletic looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Charlton Athletic and Huddersfield Town at The Valley on March 12, 2014
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