Friday, December 07, 2007

Reversing The Tractors

How do start a preview when one team is pretty useless at winning at home, and the other is terrible at getting any result away?

That's the simple fact that confronts Charlton and Ipswich tomorrow at The Valley. We Addicks fans can all moan about our home form, but at least it isn't as bad as the Tractor Boys away efforts.

While Charlton have lost four out the last five at home, Ipswich have not won away this season and have drawn four. The anomalies are compounded by Charlton having won six on the road this season, while Ipswich have only dropped two points at home since April! Something has therefore got to give.

Alan Pardew (left) will have plenty to mull over since last Saturday's home defeat against Burnley, which was followed by a comfortable away win at Cardiff. Does he go 4-4-2 at home, as per last weekend, or 4-5-1 as he did in midweek?

A lot will depend on who is fit. Jerome Thomas had a badly bruised leg so missed the last two games, but if he is fit, then the likelihood is he will come straight back into the team. No other injuries seem to troubling recent team selection, with Powell now fit again, Iwelumo doing a sterling job at covering up his various bruises and breaks, and Sam now having shaken off a sore foot.

This is the side I think Pards will send out -

Nicky Weaver
Danny Mills
Jonathan Fortune
Sam Sodje
Chris Powell
Matt Holland
Zheng Zhi
Andy Reid
Darren Ambrose
Lloyd Sam
Chris Iwelumo

Subs from Randolph, Moutaouakil, Bougherra, Semedo, Racon, Thomas, Varney, McLeod.

The links with Ipswich are not as profound as they were a couple of years ago, as Darren and Marcus Bent are not at the club this season, and neither is Hermann Hreidersson. But we do still have Matt Holland and Darren Ambrose as ex-Suffolk team players, and I'm sure they both will be looking forward to a warm welcome. Also guranteed a nod of non-approval will be Big Chris Iwelumo (ex-Colchester), and Danny Mills (ex-Norwich), so we can probabaly expect plenty of East Anglian boo-ing from the Jimmy Seed stand tomorrow!

My one-to-watch tomorrow is going to be Chris Powell. Now fit again after a few weeks out with an ankle injury, Chris is the only fit left back at the club. He came back into the team last weekend and looked rusty, which is no surprise as he hadn't played for a couple of months (not even a reserve outing). He made it through midweek OK, and I hope his legs have a third game in a week within them, as he will need his speed to counter Ipswich's attacking threat. Although he doesn't get as far forward as he used to, his back up play on theleft side is still very important, especially at home, and
we do need him to get up and down that wing when he gets the chance.

Pedro45 is hoping that home form is temporary, but class permanent, and Charlton are a class team in this league. We may not do very well when up against the big bruiser type sides (Sheffield United, Burnley, Stoke, etc), but we can mix it with teams that are ball players (Barnsley, Colchester, Southampton, etc). Ipswich definitely fall into the latter category, so we may be OK? I'm going to plump for a draw in an effort to drag out a home victory - 1-1 being my prediction.

I hate to say that we will see an end to Charlton's inconsistency, because if we lose at home, then that is confirming that we are being consistent. This is an important match, and with West Brom to play away next week, I wouldn't be surprised to see us win tomorrow, and lose next week away.

Come on you Reds!

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