Less than a week ago I allowed myself the luxury of considering whether or not Michael Appleton's bounce might see us win two games and move into the top ten. Instead, we lost both and after the defeat to Bolton yesterday, now face two consecutive away games that could, more likely, see us in the bottom six. I guess that just proves how little there is in this division between the also-rans.
Wigan and Portsmouth will not prove any easier than Bolton. In spite of our recent record against Pompey, they sit points clear at the top of the table and will see this as their moment. A quick look at the table and you might think Wigan are there for the taking but factor in the eight point deduction they started with and they would be 7th.
Appleton could surprise us, but it looks increasingly hard to see how we limit opposition scoring. Bolton might have had four or five on Saturday. I was pleased to see the switch to a back four (simply because we don't have the players to play five at the back) and that Appleton has given Thomas, Jones, Hector and Watson a long enough run to hope for some understanding and improvement. Sadly, we haven't seen that and he has to try something else even if our options may be limited.
Asiimwe isn't ready yet and I don't see him adding much at right-back whenever he plays. Jones and Hector play about 20 yards apart and something has to change. Jones has battled to hold his ground but I haven't seen Hector fight for anything other than a new contract. Time to give Ness another ten games in his place.
Thomas spends too much time in the opposition half and is still usually there when we are being carved open on our right side. We have to put someone in there who will largely stay at home and defend. Tayo Edun is still likely out injured for another month so you wonder if Abankwah could do it? He may be right footed but you think it would be worth a go? Appleton doesn't appear to fancy him but if we aren't going to use him, he should go back to Udinese.
In terms of Saturday, it was all over after half-an-hour. Two goals from our right-side were simple enough as Bolton passed their way into positions to score. They looked like they could do it all day and continued to create scoring situations but a stronger Charlton second-half forced them to spend more time making sure we didn't get any incentive to really up the ante.
Miles Leaburn has been effective from the bench but that hardly justifies playing Alfie May on his own for 70 minutes when up against three big experienced centre-halves. It also shows a lack of ambition at home. I am trying not to think about the visit of Cray Valley Paper Mills.