Thursday, November 09, 2006

Shooting for Six

Cup shocks over with (yes, it is a shock to be in the League Cup quarter finals for the first time ever!), Charlton return to league action this Saturday with an away game at Wigan.

Last December of course, Wigan was the scene of one of the worst displays of the season, and supporters who had taken the opportunity of a free ticket for the day (courtesy of Llanera), and those that paid (like me), were rightly shocked to see Charlton disintegrate during this match. It was, probably, a forerunner to all the bad things that have happened in away league games since - all without a win. That day, Henri Camara may have grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick of goals, but it was the way that the Addicks players went AWOL that was gnarling to us fans. Nobody stood up to be counted - from Dean Kiely in goal, to Darren Bent up front.

This year needs to be different, and not just because Charlton and Wigan are having very different seasons to last.

If Charlton are on a roll; if Charlton really have finally started their season; if Iain Dowie really is the new messiah, then Charlton should be looking to get something out of this match. Personally, I'm not sure that I can give a positive answer to any of those "ifs". It will be doubly hard as Wigan are on a roll/have started their season/and do have Paul Jewellio as manager and messiah.

Charlton fans can expect to see some changes to the team - back should come Talal El Karkouri, and Matt Holland (left), both missing in midweek with small niggles, plus Amady Faye and Darren Bent who played as subs at Chesterfield. Out will go Jon Fortune, Radostin Kishishev, Bryan Hughes, and Marcus Bent. With Dennis Rommedahl likely to still be injured, Dowie's options of continueing with 4-5-1 are limited. I therefore expect Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to retain his place after his two cup goals, but play in a withdrawn role, thus moving Andy Reid wide. If that doesn't work, at least he can bring on Darren Ambrose and move Reidy back into the hole-role.

This is the team I expect Dowie to pick -

Scott Carson
Luke Young
Talal El Karkouri
Souleymane Diawara
Hermann Hreidersson
Amady Faye
Matt Holland
Andy Reid
Jerome Thomas
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Darren Bent

Subs from Andersen, Sankofa, Fortune, Hughes, Ambrose, Bent (M).

This is a tough game for Charlton, and actually one I don't expect them to get anything from - Pedro45 predicts a 2-0 defeat. It shouldn't mean back to the drawing board though. This would be the first reversal in six games, and nobody expects this fragile Charlton side to win each week. The hope is that the confidence gained from recent important results is not lost on the back of one game - we must have that famous Dowie bouncebackability.

My one to watch for his game is Andy Reid (top). Our little Irish genius must be fitter after 120 minutes of play against Chesterfield, but hopefully not too knackered to make a difference on Saturday. He has to score sometime soon based on the number of shots on target he is making, and this week would be as good a start as anywhere; it could also make my prediction wrong (hopefully) and cause an upset that Addicks fans haven't seen for a year and more - an away league win. Now that would be a shock worth seeing.

Come on you reds!

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