It's not the time for knee-jerk reactions and scapegoats, but Charlton's defeats to Rotherham and Huddersfield have given the club a reality hit.
After a near perfect start to the season, frailties are now apparent, and Guy Luzon needs - to borrow a phrase from the man sitting behind you in the crowd - to sort it out.
1) Where's the captain? The mutterings have started and they are saying Chris Solly, as solid, reliable and often brilliant as he may be, is no captain. He doesn't talk to the players and he's not experienced enough, they say. True as that may be, giving the armband to someone else makes no sense. It's pretty much a team full of kids. Alou Diarra, you ask? Experienced World Cup winner who has played with the best?Well if he's that experienced he doesn't need an armband to talk to his teammates. It's time for Luzon to bring Johnnie Jackson back for a few games. What the side needs is someone to rally the troops, even put a hand on Tony Watt's shoulder and tell him to pass the ball. When the chips are down you need wise heads on. Maybe not starting against Blackburn but he certainly needs some game time soon.
2) Who to leave out? El Hadj Ba had a stinker of a first half against Huddersfield and must have been as surprised as everyone to be given another 20 minutes in the second. He's shown enough quality to prove he's going to be a useful player this season but, equally, he's not given enough to be undroppable. Another player who should sit out for games at home against the weaker sides is Ahmed Kashi. While he's been superb this season and frustrated the top sides, playing such a deep sitting midfielder is a waste in games where we have a good percentage of possession.
3) Play someone on the left. Charlton need a left-winger. Jordan Cousins never stays there and the burden on Morgan Fox to attack as well as defend, especially confronted with the likes of Sean Scannell as he was on Tuesday night, is too much. Luzon seems to have gone for a 'fake left-winger' and it's making the side disjointed. It seemed obvious new signing Conor McAleny would be put out there at some point against Huddersfield, despite Everton fans insisting he was just a forward. Maybe Luzon has another trick up his sleeve, but don't count on it.
4) Rotate the forward line. Not that Luzon probably needs telling on this issue but there's no need for favourites up front. Simon Makienok, Igor Vetokele and Watt represent the best options Charlton have had up front since the Premier years. And each of them can be left on the bench. Watt can operate just as effectively as an impact substitute, Vetokele just needs game time to get him back up to speed, and when Makienok left the field on Tuesday, Charlton did not look any less dangerous. They just had a different direction.As we all know, fresh legs are key in the Championship, so keep the strikers rotated.
5) Keep faith in Pope. A top goalkeeper who makes the odd mistake. He saved Charlton a point against Rotherham, but the team lost us points against Huddersfield, not just his one slip. Don't do what Bob Peeters did and destroy his confidence by replacing him. Pope's - hopefully, the long-term future, even if he will be Stephen Henderson's number two when the first choice keeper returns in the next few weeks.