Friday, January 12, 2007

The Battle with Boro

It really could get very nasty tomorrow.

Charlton versus Middlesboro games have been pretty dour over recent years, apart the the goal-fest cup quarter final replay that saw some kamikazi defending and six goals plundered, with most in Charlton's net. This time, the game is at what can only be described as make-or-break time for the Addicks - Lose this one, and every other Premiership team outside the bottom three will be fast disappearing too far over the horizon.

So Alan Pardew has called in the cavalry. I don't know if they will all play, but the squad is taking shape into one which will relish a battle; if it moves, KICK IT! Out, thankfully at last, seem to have gone some of the pampered stars who came along to The Valley for the ride and the pay cheque. Amady Faye lasted a mere twenty minutes last weekend before throwing the towel in (again); Djimi Traore has a good agent and obviously Harry Redknapp needs to do his wheeling and dealing in order to pay the mortgage, so Djimi now has a blue shirt; and even Souleymane Diawara is on his way to the Pompey subs bench it seems. So much for the French speaking contingent...

In this weeek have come Zheng Zhi - the China captain - and Ben Thatcher - the, a- hem, Welsh defender. Both have a history of not being slow to put in a little (too much) effort every now and then. Both have needed to complete hospital visiting books over the last couple of years.

However, us fans do want to see players "fight" for our club, and the "Entent Cordial" at the back of our defence has just got a bit of Red Army bolstering.

Pardew can also, hopefully, recall some of the lesser injured players who have been missing recently - with the possibility that Hermann Hreidersson (left), Andy Reid, and Luke Young could all be involved. I doubt all three wil be back, but we are likely to see a couple of them either on th pitch or bench. The other option is to hold them back and hope that another week or two off will prevent any relapses that could mean further time on the treatment table. I'm not sure if the Sankofa appeal means he can play or not? It will be interesting to see what the outcome is or whether we can add the FA to the list of BBC, most newspapers, UEFA and Sky as organisations that don't seem to like Charlton that much at present.

This is the side I expect Pards to put out -

Scott Carson
Osei Sankofa
Talal El Karkouri
Hermann Hreidersson
Ben Thatcher
Radostin Kishishev
Matty Holland
Bryan Hughes
Dennis Rommedahl
Lloyd Sam
Marcus Bent

Subs from Myhre, Zhi, Thomas, Faye, Fortune, Hasselbaink, Ambrose, Reid.

If Osei cannot play, I guess the only options are Zhi - if fit enough - or Faye - if bothered enough and not crying 'cos his mates have left...

This game is so crucial to the whole season that it will be very hard fought. Boro, with Jason Euell unlikely to start at The Valley, are not in the best of form, but have not been lying down either. If there are any goals, then don't exepct too many. And preferably not one from Mark Viduka who sems to love playing at The Valley and scoring aginst us...

My one-to-watch tomorrow has to be the Thatch-man. If he can inspire the defence to keep control, hold the ball and not hit forty yard passes to the oppo defence, then we could be OK. He will need cover in big Hermann, and the man in front of him, but he should be OK.

Pedro45's score forecast is for a 0-0 draw. I just don't know if our "strikers" are capable of getting a goal at present. With the tight game forecast, they will sit deep to combat Rommedahl's pace, and flood the midfield to stifle any creativity (if we had any). It will need a flash of brilliance from a Charlton player to win the match - oh for a thumping header from Hermann at a corner, or Dennis finally breaking his Valley duck with a dribble from penalty box to penalty box and a thumping shot into the top corner to finish. Or maybe Lloyd Sam will get his first Premiership goal, or El Kak will smash one in from forty yards, or Marcus will score one like he did for Ipswich at The Valley on New Years day a few seasons ago. Maybe...Maybe.

Yes, it really could get very nasty tomorrow - the weathermen are forecasting lots of win and rain.

Come on you reds!

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