SIMON Francis believes upheaval at Charlton has “come at a good time” for Cherries.

The struggling Addicks appointed Jose Riga as a replacement for the sacked Chris Powell last week in the wake of discussions between owner Roland Duchatalet and the then manager regarding a new contract.

Francis, who is returning to his former club for the first time tonight (7.45pm) since departing permanently for Dean Court in January 2012, is hoping that Charlton’s transitional spell will be to the benefit of his current club. 

Riga has so far presided over 0-0 draws against Huddersfield and Millwall and although they are without a win under the Belgian’s stewardship, Charlton are now just one place from safety following Saturday’s result at the Den. 

Francis told the Daily Echo: “I’ve still got friends there (Charlton) and they say it’s a little bit of a shambles with the new owner coming in.

“Chris Powell was being a bit of a puppet at times and I think he was being told what team to pick and now they have decided to change the manager.

“This game has probably come at a good time for us because their players don’t know the kind of formations their manager wants and, hopefully, we can catch them unawares and get a result.

“I’m sure I’ll get a bit of stick from their fans but that’s all part and parcel of the game and I probably won’t notice the majority of it.

“It might be when I go to take a throw-in that I will hear a shout from a couple of yards away, but that’s typical. If anything it will spur me on to help us get a victory.”

The only player to play every minute of Cherries’ Championship campaign, Francis captained Eddie Howe’s side to a 2-1 victory over Charlton in August, a sweet success following his 16-month spell at the London club.

Francis added: “I didn’t have the best of times there, which was partly my fault and partly not.

“I think I was shown the door a bit too soon as I didn’t want to leave, but I’ve absolutely no regrets leaving given where I am now – at a club that’s definitely going places.

“It was probably the best time to get out anyway because it seems like they are in a bit of a transitional phase and not too many people know what’s going on."

  • A Cherries XI made up of development and youth team players lost 2-1 at Brighton yesterday afternoon.

Josh O’Hanlon, who Cherries signed from League of Ireland outfit Longford Town in January, netted for the visitors.