But, unlike Barnsley, who this time last year found themselves rooted to the bottom of the table, this season's guests at the rich man's table have their future in their own hands.
This victory - their third on the trot - lifted them out of the relegation zone and in their manager Alan Curbishley's view it is no more than their performances over the campaign so far have merited. "We have been consistent all season. In most games we have been in with a shout.
"The difference today was that when Derby's only real chance came, Dean Sturridge missed it, while we stuck ours away. Our defence was magnificent and it is now three clean sheets in a row, which breeds confidence." There would have been many more clean sheets if every attack they faced had been as impotent as Derby's. Even the introduction of Paulo Wanchope, now recovered from his hamstring injury, as a second-half substitute failed to inspire them.
It was another substitute, John Barnes, who had the decisive influence on the result, his corner bouncing around the Derby area before Andy Hunt tucked it away. In the end, Charlton had to wait until four minutes from time to seal their victory, delivering a classic counter-punch in the face of mounting Derby pressure. Neil Redfearn split what remained of the home defence with a ball from deep in his own half which Martin Pringle only had to race onto, keep his nerve and direct beyond Russell Hoult.
Goals: Hunt 64 (0-1), Pringle 86 (0-2).
Derby County (3-4-1-2): Hoult; Prior, Stimac, Laursen (Harper, 78); D Powell, Carsley, Eranio, Dorigo; Delap (Wanchope, 62); Sturridge (Bohinen, 62), Burton. Substitutes not used: Knight (gk), Schnoor.
Charlton Athletic (3-5-2): Royce; Mills, Brown, Tiler; Robinson (Mendonca, 72), Jones (Barness, 65), Kinsella (Barnes, 18), Redfearn, C Powell; Pringle, Hunt. Substitutes not used: Petterson (gk), Bright.
Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield). Bookings: none.
Man of the match: Barnes.