In the words of Ian Brown and the Stone Roses, 'this is the one...I've waited for'! I've very deliberately tried to avoid thinking about tonight's game too much in the last week or so (for my own sanity), but it dominated my thoughts on my usual Sunday morning run yesterday and the twisted, nervy feeling inside the belly since then is a constant reminder of what's to come. There's no getting away from it now!
I love the anticipation of big nights at The Valley. Under the shrouded, magical glow of the floodlights, night games seem to rise up a notch or two in atmosphere and importance: like nothing else matters anywhere else in the world.
Despite the prospect of a chilly night ahead and the game being live on Sky, I still expect a decent gate, and hopefully the Covered End will be on form tonight, relentlessly driving the team on. There will understandably be fewer Terrier fans present than if it were a Saturday game, which I guess offers us a slight advantage in having the game switched to midweek.
The sizable loss of Johnny Jackson aside, it has been some considerable time since I've felt so confident of a Charlton side going into a big game. No weak underbelly now: confidence high.
My Mum will be coming along with me tonight. Traditionally, when I've bought my Mum along in the past it has generally been for lower-profile games (for ticketing reasons, as much as anything). This, by contrast, will easily be the biggest Charlton game she will have been to and I hope with all my heart she gets to see the Valley roof lifted high into the night sky, because if it turns out to be 'one of those nights', she will have no idea what's in store!
In reality, we all know that in terms of promotion, nothing whatsoever will be decided tonight, win, lose or draw. But the Addicked also know that to overcome the challenge of Huddersfield will prove hugely significant in our quest to escape the 3rd Division. For what it's worth, I predict a 1-0 win to Charlton, with BWP netting late on.
Come on you Addicks!!!