With 10 games of the season gone, and an international break providing a two week respite from the fixture list, it is natural that managers will take this opportunity to assess their campaign so far.
For Charlton, second place is one lower than they would have wished for but, aside from a healthy points total, it is the form of their captain, Andy Reid, which gives them the most cause for optimism.
"Andy's been our best player in our first 10 games," the Charlton manager, Alan Pardew, said. "He's in a good place at the minute and if we keep him fit and well I think we'll go close."
Pardew also praised Reid's contribution off the pitch, in particular his "wonderful abilities on the guitar," which has helped with team-bonding.
Reid, who part-owns a live music venue in Nottingham called the Running Horse which is re-opening this Thursday, was reluctant to be drawn on his musical skills but did admit that they have assisted the side. "When we went on pre-season I brought the guitar out and we had a bit of a sing-song," he said. "Everyone had to sing something. It was good for team spirit, which was badly needed after last season."
Last term's relegation from the Premier League, when Reid missed most of the season through injury, was something that Pardew also reflected on. "I look back at when we got relegated and we didn't have him at all and I wonder if we'd have made it if we had," he said.
On Saturday, Charlton finally made their dominance count in the 82nd minute, and inevitably Reid was at the centre of it. His cross from the left was nodded down by Chris Iwelumo for the impressive Zheng Zhi, whose header should have given the home side all three points.
Barnsley fought back, however, and equalised when Charlton failed to properly deal with substitute Martin Devaney's cross and another substitute, Kim Christensen, smashed the loose ball home.
Barnsley could have even won it in injury time when winger Grant McCann put the ball the wrong side of the post with the Charlton defence in disarray. They are a reformed side from the one who avoided relegation on the last day of last season. Manager Simon Davey has completely revamped the squad – they had nine different nationalities in their sixteen on Saturday – and they play with a style and composure that is often lacking in this division.
Their fans sing that "It's just like watching Brazil", and they are closer to the truth than ever before. If Reid keeps up his current form, it is an anthem that the Charlton faithful may soon have to adopt.
Goals: Zheng (82) 1-0; Christensen (90) 1-1.
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Weaver; Mills, Bougherra, Fortune (Sodje, 32), Powell; Ambrose (Thomas, 72), Zheng, Semedo, Reid; Varney (Todorov, h-t), Iwelumo. Substitutes not used: Randolph (gk), Holland.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Muller; Foster, Nyatanga, Souza (Christensen, 83), Werling; Campbell-Ryce (Devaney, 83), Howard, Anderson, McCann; Odejayi, Mostto. Substitutes not used: Colgan (gk), Kozluk, Togwell.
Referee: P Joslin (Nottinghamshire).
Booked: Barnsley Werling, Nyatanga.
Man of the match: Reid.
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