Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Cup Runneth Over?

Charlton and the League Cup - not two things that usually go hand in hand, but tomorrow night, the Addicks have a chance to progress as far in the competition as they ever have previously. Standing in their way are Bolton Wanderers, a team that Charlton have already beaten at the Valley this season (and the only team really bar previous cup defeatists Carlisle).

The previous encounter back in August was a pretty high tempo affair - Talal El Karkouri got whacked in the face a couple of times early on, and when Hermann Hreidersson's elbow connected with Kevin Davies, a cheekbone fractured and Hermy saw the red card appear from the refs pocket...Later, Amady Faye went to ground after another clash with Davies, and it was ten men each. This after Scott Carson saved a Diouf penalty (above), and Darren Bent had won and scored a similar effort at the other end. Dazza went on to grab a second goal and Charlton's season seemed to finally be under way. As we now know, that wasn't really the case...

It will be interesting to see if any of the main protagonists from this encounter feature tomorrow night; for Charlton, Iain Dowie has injury doubts (surprise surprise) over Diawara, Reid, Faye, and Darren Bent, plus Dennis Rommedahl and Jerome Thomas (left) are not fully fit. Bolton also have players missing - their own Faye is out injured, as is Kevin Nolan through suspension. It remains to be seen if Sam Allardyce will take the compettion seriously this year, as he has previously put out a number of reserves and concentrated more on league status. Dowie would like that luxury, but must be desperate to see Charlton win after six games without a sniff. It is doubtful that we will see Alaistair John on the bench as we did in the previous round...

This is the team I expect our head coach to field at The Valley -

Thomas Myrhe
Luke Young
Talal El Karkouri
Jonathan Fortune
Hermann Hreidersson
Radostin Kishishev
Matt Holland
Bryan Hughes
Jerome Thomas
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Marcus Bent

Subs from - Andersen, Diawara, Ashton, Sankofa, Faye, Sam, Rommedahl, Darren Bent.

It will be interesting to see what sort of crowd turns up for the game - I doubt Bolton will bring more than 500, but ticket prices are low (£15) so home support may be OK (15,000?). Midweek games tend to get the crowd going a bit more than Saturday (or Sunday) games, so the atmosphere could be OK if the team plays alright and the boo-boys stay away.

My one-to-watch tomorrow night is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink; it can't be many times that Jimmy has been dropped in his career, but that is what happened on Saturday. A decent response is required, and a home goal from the Dutchman is just what the Dowie doctor ordered. If the defence can hold, one goal may be enough...

Pedro45's score prediction would love to be able to get anywhere near, but the injuries to both teams and who gets picked from the residue leave any firm prediction about as much chance as Killer has of getting a scoreline right! I'll plump for a 1-0 win, but only if Big Sam puts a few reserves out and keeps Anelka and Diouf under blankets all night.

Some are saying that the Premiership should take priority over this cup at present; I am of the view that a result is a result, and that will only help the team come Saturday and St James' Park. I just hope it doesn't go to extra time and penalties, as I'm not sure my girlfriend will wait that long to pick me up afterwards!

Come on you reds!

Not only did you get the score correct, but you predicted the starting eleven spot on.

I'm impressed! What lottery numbers are you chosing for Saturday?
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