KARL Robinson knows his Charlton Athletic counterpart Johnnie Jackson well enough that he’s expecting some curveballs when they go head-to-head tomorrow.

Robinson was Charlton manager between November 2016 and March 2018, directly before taking over at Oxford United, and was Jackson’s boss during his time at The Valley.

The U’s manager was full of praise for Jackson, and is anticipating the Charlton boss to utilise some alternative set piece routines.

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He said: “There’s a few players I’ve had in my time where I’ve seen it in them, that steely determination to stay in the game as a manager.

“He’s a very, very accomplished young manager who’ll certainly have a career doing this – I like him as a person and I know how much he cares about Charlton Athletic.

“I know the connection he has with the fans and I know they’ve had some difficult results of late but it’s not his team yet – he’s got to be given time to build that team.

“They’re a lot more aggressive in the turnover – I know how inventive he is with set plays, I guarantee there’ll be something incredibly creative within the set plays.

“I know there’ll be a wry smile looking across at me when it happens.

“We won’t be able to plan for it because it’s something they’ll have been practising this week.”

In addition to varied set pieces, Robinson also highlighted Charlton’s erratic form.

Prior to consecutive 2-1 away defeats to Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic, Charlton enjoyed a 3-2 win at home to AFC Wimbledon, and victories over Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town, in Sky Bet League One.

Robinson said: “It’ll be a difficult game – a game against a very good team who have had some good performances and some unpredictable performances because that’s what happens when a manager comes in the middle of the season.

“It’s not always his players and he’s got to find continuity within that.

“It’s a difficult place to play at the best of times so it’s going to be difficult.

“The fans get behind them, it’s quite a daunting place to go at times, I always felt that as a manager.

“It’s a great stadium, there’s something about it which makes it unique.”

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Robinson said his players were low after the late defeat at home to Bolton on Saturday, but he saw a change in attitude when they got back on the training ground.

“They’re frustrated after the game obviously – it’s the first time it’s been turned on us for a long time but that’s football, they’re the punches you have to take,” he said.

“I don’t think a game on Tuesday would’ve been good for us, seeing how low the players were after the game.

“But once we got back into training, you start seeing a different mentality and they’ve worked really hard since.”

Robinson said he anticipates a tough run in with a number of sides in contention for promotion.

“The worrying thing is below us are Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich, Bolton and Portsmouth,” he said.

“Right from third down to 10th, everyone has got a chance this year.

“I think Wigan and Rotherham are the teams running away with it.

“We’re competing in one of the hardest leagues I’ve ever seen.”