I was resigned to our fate some time ago. Failure to win a series of very winnable home games, away form that if anything is worse than it was under Pardew, have marked us out as a club with impeccable relegation credentials. Phil Parkinson is trying to cobble together a team with enough about it to string some results together and climb out of the bottom 3. But its not just about new faces - it never was. Its about creating a sense of purpose, cohesion, pattern and collective will. Its when everyone knows their job; everyone knows what is expected of them and when; and they play for one another and the shirt. Players at this Division are all pretty talented and the margins in terms of skill are probably not great. The difference between success and failure is in all those intangible qualities. So far these have been worryingly absent from the Valley.
A local derby is usually enough to motivate a team to raise its performance. I hope it does tomorrow. Because for Charlton tomorrow a draw will simply not be good enough. A draw, or worse still a defeat, and I suspect the Board will be in for a tough time at Wednesday's AGM.