Friday, December 16, 2005

Second Athletics meet of the season

Charlton play away at Wigan tomorrow, hoping to build on the back of last weeks win against Sunderland. The official match preview is here.

I'll be up at the JJB Stadium for the match, and it will be the 82nd football league team's ground I have seen Charlton play away at. It's rare to get a new team/stadium these days, so I expect a fair number of Charlton fans will have taken up the generous allocation of free tickets. Me? I paid for mine! I also hope that Virgin Trains don't let me down!

Curbs will probably stick with much the same team as last week, unless there are any injuries about. It's unlikely that any of the non-starters last week will be able to force their way into the sixteen unless this is the case. There have been rumours about Darren Bent and a sore hamstring, which led to his substitution after an hour or so last weekend, but hopefully a weeks rest will have done the trick. With Jay Bothroyd hitting both a wooden post and the news this week, following on from his sore calf last week which meant he didn't even make the subs bench, we need our best striker on the field.

This is the side I expect to see play -

Kiely, Young, Hreidersson, Perry, Powell, Smertin, Kishishev, Murphy, Ambrose, Thomas, Bent. The subs wil probably be Myrhe, El Karkouri, Hughes, Bothroyd (if fit, Bartlett if not), and Rommedahl.

My one-to-watch tomorrow is not going to be Alan Curbishley, who I've nominated for the last two games, but Dean Kiely (above). Deano has had some stick since he came back into the team three games ago, but a clean sheet is what our goalie is all about. His confidence will be up after last week, he's back up north not far from Bury where he made his name, and Wigan will test him at every opportunity, so he needs to be back near his best.

Pedro45's score prediction is a 1-1 draw; I thought about making it nil-nil but I'm not sure our defence can keep two clean sheets on the trot.

I've yet to work out how Charlton have done when I've seen them play away on trips for the first time - obviously famous wins at Old Trafford, Upton Park, Goodison Park and the like come to mind easily, but I've also seen us win on my first visits to less salubrious grounds against teams like Hereford, Oxford, Southport, Lincoln, Plymouth, Bristol City, and Huddersfield. Hopefully, this sort of run will continue! Come on you reds!

Was it Hereford in a midweek League Cup 2nd leg game?
No. League, on a Saturday in about 1974. We won 3-2. I'll check out the date in Home and Away... Caught the supporters club coach from Eltham Church. I remember
someone buying a dirty mag (not me! Honest...) - Mayfair or the like - at the motorway
service station and holding up the spreads at the window to passing cars! Young boys eh!?!
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