Karl Robinson has not been surprised by Oxford United’s impressive form so far this season.
Tuesday night’s opponents sit two points behind Charlton in the Sky Bet League One table after picking up a 1-0 victory at Bristol Rovers at the weekend.
And, ahead of the Addicks’ trip to the Kassam Stadium, Robinson expressed his admiration for Oxford and their playing style.
He said: “I’ve really enjoyed watching Oxford play building up to this one, they play with a freedom, energy, wingers and get in your face.
“I said at the start of this season that I thought Oxford would be a dark horse to push on because they have a really good manager, and assistant coach Derek Fazackerely has been there and done it.
“They’ve got some really good players right the way through the team but they have weaknesses - as we all do. It’s about us getting it right.”
Oxford Manager Pep Clotet had gained coaching and management experience in Spain, Norway and Sweden, before more recently being an Assistant Coach at Swansea City and then Leeds United.
Robinson believes Clotet working in League One says a lot about the strength of English football.
He said: “It shows that people from the continent see our third tier as an opportunity.
“The third tier across the world wouldn’t get the same attendances, desire and attention to detail as we get here.
“We’re very fortunate to have that here and that’s forgotten sometimes, and when you get someone of Pep’s quality in the third tier it shows you how well thought of our game is.”
Clotet’s Oxford will be looking to prevent Charlton gaining a third win on the spin, with this match coming in the middle of a run that sees the Addicks play three times in a week.
Robinson says that the schedule is inevitably more intense, and does bring challenges.
He said: “It’s more demanding as you come off Saturday and are then phoning somebody to try to find out how Oxford played and what their tactics were.
“It’s physically draining for the players but mentally demanding and time-consuming for the staff with the short turn-around.
“You have a small window of opportunity regarding the game-implementation processes - what are we going to do and how.
“Whatever issues I have, the Oxford manager and staff will have the same so we’re all in the same boat. Last season was difficult because we were the only side with a fixture pile-up.”
Charlton travel to the Kassam buoyant after two consecutive victories, though even in the winless run of four games Robinson says his squad remained level-headed.
Robinson said: “We try and take the result away from the players because that’s the randomness which makes the game fascinating.
“If you predicted the results tomorrow night you’ll do well to get 50 per cent right.”
“As managers and coaches, we have to focus on the things which are constant and you can control - performance and physical stats.
“That 20 minutes after a win is the best feeling in the world but once that’s gone it’s back to the logical process - withdrawing emotion is a great way to learn.”