Thursday, April 03, 2008

Last of the Winter Whine

Although it very much feels like the end of the season, Charlton do still have some games to play, and this weekend they take on Plymouth at Home Park. With nothing to be won, or lost, the result doesn’t really matter (in this blogs humble opinion), so maybe the Addicks team can play with a flair and hope, and maybe win a match?

I will not be there as one of the 90-odd who have bought tickets though, and a match report will not be forthcoming. It’s not that I’ve joined the ranks of Doctor Kish’s ever increasing ex-Addick fan converts, it’s that I will be out of the country on holiday, away from texts, email, the internet and (most of) the worlds news. Yep, I’ll even miss out on the Grand National, FA Cup semi-Finals, Bahrain Grand Prix, and much more no doubt, including Charlton news and results!

So in my last missive for a few weeks (I should be back for the Barnsley game), here’s the team I think would be best suited to our end of season run in. This team may not make the starting eleven on Saturday – as Pardew still thinks we have an outside chance of getting in the play-offs, ho ho! – but I would hope that some of the players will at least be considered so that they can be tried, gain experience, and help Pardew plan for next season’s promotion push –

Nicky Weaver
Greg Halford
Madjid Bougherra
Paddy McCarthy (capt)
Kelly Youga
Jose Semedo
Zheng Zhi
Darren Ambrose
Scott Wagstaff
Chris Iwelumo
Leroy Lita

Subs – Elliott, Moutaouakil, Sodje, Fortune, Thatcher, Basey, Holland, Sam, Thomas, Cook, Uchechi, Varney.

In defence, I think that it best that Sodje be left out, simply so that those who are not on loan get preference should they be required next year. I am hoping, though, that Halford may stay, but if not, I think that his goalscoring will keep him in the team until Yassin is required. Youga is the future, so there is no point playing Thatcher or Powell again this season; alternatively, Basey is an option.

In midfield, we are quite short, with Racon and Wright out on loan, Arter injured, and Dean Sinclair only just back after knee problems. Semedo is the future so he should play, and it would be nice to see if he can work with ZiZi; Holland is back up on the bench. The wide men are an issue – none of them have had as good a season as they would have hoped, except youngster Scott Wagstaff; I think he should be given a chance in the closing stages of the season, after leading the youth team to such heights. He can do no worse than Thomas, Cook or Ambrose, while Lloyd Sam is also returning from injury and may be a week or so away from starting in the team – I’d play Ambrose until Sam is fit.

Up front, the Iwelumo and Lita partnership did look as if it was starting to gel last week; I would prefer Varney to start, but I cannot see that happening now that Lita has been kept on loan for the rest of the season. Without any other options, due to injuries to Todorov and McLeod (other than to play a wide man in attack), why not bring Danny Uchechi forward to the bench and give him a small taste of first team action as the season winds down.

As a fan, Pedro45 want the best for Charlton; of course I want and hope that they win every game. In order to do this, you need to play your best team. But there are times when we must look forward, and give people a chance; otherwise, you may not actually know who your best team is!

A classic Curbishley error was not playing the youngsters when he had the chance, as he didn’t want to upset the “older” players; Pardew has picked and dropped squad members all season, so there is little point in trying to placate them now.

Some, like Jerome Thomas, Ben Thatcher, Zheng Zhi, and Jon Fortune will want to play, so they are in the shop window – all could be sold on by Charlton this summer in order to raise funds (I also suspect that each has just a single year left on their contracts, so maybe now is the optimum time for them to go…?). And maybe Pardew will play them in the hope of maximising the incoming funds? Others, like Sodje, Halford, Lita, and Cook will want games so they can show their worth, in the hope of possibly joining Charlton on a full time basis. Pards may want to play them too…

But the future is with the younger players who are committed to the Addicks, and I believe that Pards needs to concentrate on getting them into the team and giving them more experience. If Yassin hadn’t got injured after just three league games in this country, maybe six months later he wouldn’t have made such a hash of the clearance he messed up at Scunthorpe. Now is the time for further opportunity, and it must be grasped.

Chat in a few weeks!

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Pedro, enjoy your holiday. Forget (if you can) about football for a while. Let's face it, it's only a game ..who said that?
Have a great holiday Pedro, and let's look forward to next season.
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