Monday, October 01, 2007

To Hull and Back

This midweek it's yet another Tuesday night game, for the third week on the trot, and sees Charlton travel to Hull City for an important Championship match. Although unbeaten in the league for six matches, the team have also gone two games without a win (Luton and Coventry), and have yet to hit the heights on the road this season. Hopefully, a game at the KC Stadium will change all that.

Alan Pardew seems to have nearly all the players fit once more, with just Bougherra, Zhi, and Fortune taking knocks on Saturday (none should be out injured though), and only Thatcher on the treatment table. We may still see some changes from Alan Pardew as he seeks the right formula that will bring three more precious points on the road back to the Premiership.

Hull will be no mugs, and have had a solid looking, if unspectacular start to the season. They currently sit in mid-table, but are only four poiints behind the Addicks, and will be looking to close that gap by the end of the match. They have a number of good-if-veteran players - notably ex-Bolton duo Jay-Jay Okocha (so good they named him twice?) and Henrik Pedersen, and Dean Windass - plus ex-Addicks Michael Turner and Bryan Hughes. Indeed, it will be something of a reunion once more for Phil Parkinson, as he returns to yet another club where he was manager last season, albeit for just five unsuccessful months. It's also a return to Humberside for Danny Mills (top), who played on loan at Hul last year under Parky. You would like to think that Charltons much younger squad (barring Chrissy Powell) would be able to cope with 30-somethings Pedersen and Windass, but you never know!

Pardew will probably go for a team that looks like this -

Nicky Weaver
Danny Mills
Sam Sodje
Jon Fortune
Chris Powell
Jose Semedo
Zheng Zhi
Andy Reid
Lloyd Sam
Chris Iwelumo
Svetisvlav Todorov

Subs from everyone else barring Thatcher (and probably Randolph, Moutaoukil, Ambrose, Varney, McLeod).

For me, the two inconsistent areas are central defence, and attack.

Madjid Bougherra is having a bit of an up and down time - excellent one game (Leicester) and awful the next (Coventry); in between, he gave away a goal at Luton (OK, it didn't make any difference...). Will Pardew give him the chop (or a rest as he may call it)? I think he may, as Sam Sodje should be fresh and really hasn't been able to show his value since joining on loan from Reading yet, and he is more preferable than Paddy McCarthy.

Up front, we have four good players, all of whom could do with a run in the team. Iwelumo is the only real target man among them though, and adds to the defensive cover at set pieces, so I think he'll play, even after that glaring miss late on at the Ricoh. Luke Varney has done well since coming back into the side after injury, but he has run out of pace in the last couple of matches, and it might be the right time to give him a breather and introduce him from the bench if need be. That might let in Todorov, who only really dropped out of the side due to a minor injury in the game against Norwich. Izale McLeod seems to be a favourite substitute option for Pards, coming on when legs around him are tired.

My one-to-watch in this match is Andy Reid (left). The little Oirish fella has no excuses in this game; Ireland are out of the Rugby World Cup and he's had a day to get over the anguish (and Guinness!). I expect our Andy to be firing and getting back to scoring goals from open play. Come on Andy, we need you to make and score goals!

Pedro45's score prediction is another tough one; I'd love us to get back to winning ways, and I know we could do it, but I have a nagging feeling that Okocha, Pedersen and Hughes, who have all scored against Charlton in the past, may think otherwise. I'm going for a 2-1 reversal, but desperately hope I'm wrong so we get back into the top two places in this league.

This was a tough run of three away games on the trot, and if we can come out with a win (Hull), draw (Coventry), and loss (Luton), I'll be a very happy man.

Up the Addicks!

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Muy bueno Pedro!
Front pairing of Iwelumo and Todorov is a great call.
Getting Sodje involved is another one.
(Perhaps a 'rest' for Boogie will help but maybe Powelly could do with one - can moo2kill play left back ?)
Actually, WHO the hell is Gibbs ?
I don't think we want to mess with Mills just now (who would ?)
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