Rovers return to the capital for the second time this season as they face Charlton Athletic at The Valley in the Emirates FA Cup second round.
Both sides reached this stage after convincing wins in first round replays, with Rovers overcoming National League North high-flyers Chorley 7-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium, with Charlton defeating Sky Bet League Two outfit Mansfield Town 5-1 at The Valley.
Both games also saw players walk away with the match ball, as Alfie May scored four goals against Chorley, with three coming in the first half, whilst Lyle Taylor bagged three in their victory over the Stags.
Brief history of Charlton Athletic
Charlton play at the 27,111-capacity The Valley stadium in south-east London, which has been their home since 1919, barring a seven-year spell away from Greenwich between 1985 and 1992.
Their nickname is the Addicks, which comes from the pronunciation of the word ‘Athletic’ in south-east London.
Charlton have won the FA Cup on one occasion, coming back in 1947 as they defeated Burnley 1-0 at the old Wembley Stadium, with Chris Duffy scoring the winning goal in extra time. The Addicks’ cup win came just a year after they lost in the previous final to Derby County.
Last season saw the Addicks finish sixth in League One, qualifying them for the play-offs. They met Shrewsbury Town in the play-off semi-finals, however it would be the Shrews who would progress 2-0 on aggregate.
Who’s the gaffer?
Lee Bowyer is the man at the helm at The Valley, taking permanent charge this season following a temporary spell in the dugout towards the end of the last campaign. The former Leeds United, Newcastle United and Birmingham City midfielder is in his first managerial role with the Addicks, and he helped guide them into the play-offs whilst in caretaker charge last term.
So far, Bowyer has overseen 37 games in charge of the Addicks, winning 18 of those, whilst drawing seven and losing 12, leaving him with a total win percentage of 48.6 per cent.
Ones to watch
The Montserrat international signed from cross-London rivals AFC Wimbledon over the summer. Taylor began his career with Millwall, though it would be his drop into non-league with Concord Rangers that would kick-start his career. 34 goals in one season for Concord saw him sign for AFC Bournemouth before a successful season with Falkirk where he would score 24 goals in 34 league games for the Bairns. After time with Sheffield United and Scunthorpe United, he joined Wimbledon in 2015, going on to become a fans’ favourite with the Dons, scoring 23 goals in his first season, including the opening goal in their 2017 League Two play-off victory over Plymouth Argyle at Wembley Stadium. Taylor switched to south-east London to link up with the Addicks and has hit the ground running with eight league goals from his first 15 games, and bagged a hat-trick against Mansfield Town in the last round of the FA Cup.
The Northern Ireland international is currently on loan at The Valley until January. Ward spent part of his early career with Aston Villa, Torquay United and Chesterfield, before his move to Sheffield United in 2009. Ward joined Derby County after two seasons at Bramall Lane, making over 125 appearances for the Rams over four years. After his departure from Pride Park, Ward would make a controversial move to the Rams’ biggest rivals in Forest, and that is where he has remained ever since. Ward was named in Michael O’Neill’s Euro 2016 squad in France, where he would help Northern Ireland to the Round of 16 stage.
The Addicks legend is also a one-club man, having come up through the academy before his senior debut in 2009. Solly was a key figure in the Addicks’ 2011/12 League One title win, going on to win the club’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards following their promotion, as well as winning it the senior award again the season after following a solid season in the Championship. Despite Solly entering his 11th season of professional football at The Valley, Solly has only scored three goals in a Charlton shirt, with the last of those coming this season, bagging a last-minute equaliser away at Luton Town, his first goal since 2012.
Who’s the ref?
Brett Huxtable will be the man in the middle when the two sides meet at The Valley on Saturday. Huxtable has taken charge of 21 games across league and cup competitions so far this season, dishing out 64 yellow cards, whilst brandishing a red card three times.
Incidentally, the three red cards that Huxtable has shown this season came in a game involving the Addicks, in their 2-1 win away at Southend United, in which Tarique Fosu was dismissed for Charlton, whilst he last took charge of Rovers in August 2016 for their 1-1 draw at home to Crawley Town in League Two.
He will be joined by assistant referees Paul Lister and Bhupinder Gill, with David Rock being named as the fourth official.
Last time out
You only have to go back to the start of November for the last time these two sides met, with Charlton coming out on top at The Valley, with goals from Joe Aribo and Karlan Grant seeing the Addicks come away with three points in League One.
Rovers last, and only win, at The Valley came in the Championship in March 2009, with James Coppinger putting Rovers ahead before Nick Bailey’s equaliser. Brian Stock’s penalty 11 minutes from time however would see Rovers earn three points for the first time in south-east London.
Whilst Rovers and Charlton have met 11 times in the past, Saturday’s game will be their first ever meeting in the FA Cup.
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