Thursday, September 13, 2007

Many Happy Returns

Charlton’s away game at Colchester on Saturday lays a quiet passage to rest amongst Addicks bloggers, and a return to work after the strike action prompted by NYA.

I’m really looking forward to this weekends game as it will be the first game I have stood up at (legitimately) for years, having only been able to get a terrace ticket. It’s tough remembering the last time I stood on a terrace – I seem to think it was Reading, way back in the late nineties, but I may be wrong?

Others will also be looking forward to the game; notably all those professionals with ex-Charlton and ex-Colchester connections who wil be involved.

For United, Kevin Lisbie will probably play against his previous club, and Charlton fans will be able to see whether he is as bad as they think, or someone who has slipped through the net and could have done a job for the club in this league.

For Charlton, big Chris Iwelumo returns to the ground where he plied his trade last season, finishing top scorer, and Alan Pardew’s Assistant Manager Phil Parkinson returns to the town where he was in managerial charge during a very successful period up until the start of last season. Parky had taken Colchester to promotion, but left somewhat under a cloud after the club first refused permission for him to talk to Charlton (prior to Dowie being appointed), and then let him go off to Hull, where he struggled and didn’t last much longer than that man Dowie!

All three individuals will be very keen to come out on top in this match!

Colchester have had an indifferent start to the season, scoring plenty of goals (including Lisbie, who has two), but conceding even more. They have scored twice on four occasions this season, but have struggled to win, and lost their last match, 3-2, at home to Burnley.

Charlton, on the other hand, are starting to hit form, with three consecutive wins in the bag. Bearing in mind the defensive problems that Charlton have had (conceding soft goals against Sheffield Wednesday and Stockport for instance), this game could be as goal-ridden as Charlton’s midweek reserve team outing which finished 8-4!

If we presume that those players away on international duty (Reid, Randolph, Christensen, Bougherra) come back without injury, Alan Pardew has plenty of options from which to pick his team:

In goal, I expect Nicky Weaver to continue, with Darren Randolph (who is in very good form too it seems) on the bench.

Defensively, loanees Danny Mills and Sam Sodje are likely starters, with Chris Powell filling the left back slot. Either Madjid Bougherra (returning from injury and international duty), Paddy McCarthy or, more likely, Jon Fortune will play alongside Sodje.

In midfield, it seems that everyone except Matt Holland is fit. Pardew can chose his best formation and hopefully pick from Andy Reid, Therry Racon, Jose Semedo, Darren Ambrose, Zheng Zhi, Jerome Thomas, Lloyd Sam, Martin Christensen, and Dean Sinclair.

Up front, the bare cupboard is well and truly being forgotten, with Todorov, Iwelumo, McLeod, plus Varney and even James Walker (both banging them in for the reserves) available.

Tactically, Pards will need to decide whether the 4-5-1 formation he chose to start with in the last game is what is required here too, or if a switch back to 4-4-2 is a better option. I think he’ll go with 4-4-2 this week…

This is the team I think Pardew will pick –

Nicky Weaver
Danny Mills
Jonny Fortune
Sammy Sodje
Chrissy Powell
Jeromy Thomas
Jose Semedo
Zheng Zhi
Andy Reid
Svetty Todorov
Chrissy Iwelumo

Subs – Randolph, McCarthy, Racon, Ambrose, Varney.

The confidence that Charlton have gained from the last three games, and especially from the clean sheet won in the last outing, should hopefully see them pick up another three points and continue the march they are making up the Championship table. Pedro45’s score forecast is a relatively comfortable 3-1 win.

My one-to-watch in this match is going to be Chris Iwelumo. Big Chris should have plenty of friends left in this barracks town, as he played his heart out for them over two excellent seasons. Although he left to join bigger fish on a Bosman, hopefully the home fans will appreciate that he was only doing what any one of them would have, given the opportunity to treble (and more) their wages. Charlton fans are warming to big Chris, and see that his kind of effort (i.e. on the pitch) is preferable to that shown by the previous centre forward who is no longer at the club (and who left his best moves for the dance floor). He also scores more than the previous incumbent (sic)!

Up the Addicks!

Excellent post Pedro, I think Ambrose will play, as he is coming into form, just my opinion of course.
Know what you mean CN-D, but unless we go 4-5-1, where does Ambie fit?
Certainly not in front of Zhi, Thomas, Semedo, or Reid in any team I'd be picking...It's
therefore a straight choice between Toddy and Ambie in my book, depending on formation.
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