Thursday, May 01, 2008

Last Hurrah!

I really cannot get too excited about Charlton's last home game of the season against Coventry on Sunday - having been away on holiday while the Addicks played out a win, loss, and draw, the end of season slump continued last weekend with a crashing scoreline defeat at Barnsley. It seems the players bags are packed and their minds already on some Mediterranean beach somewhere.

Of course, we should be looking forward to the chance to see youngsters JonJo Shelvey and Scott Wagstaff play - and I am, honest! - but Alan Pardew has already intimated that he will be wrapping them in cotton wool next season, save they get too tired or a kick on the leg... I bet Zheng Zhi wishes he was treated the with the same deference!

So, Coventry: Almost certain to save themselves from relegation - only a defeat at The Valley, plus three wins for the clubs around them (which is unlikely) will see them go down, though I expect they will play as if their collective lives depend on it. As the Addicks found during a 1-1 draw at The Rocoh earlier in the season, Coventry are a tough side to beat when they want to be, and hey could be just the sort of team that we really didn't want to be meeting at the end of this long season.

Since I last saw the Addicks live (the 3-2 rollercoaster home defeat to Wolves), a number of players here on loan have gone back to their clubs, probably never to be seen in an Addicks shirt again: Leroy Lita promised much but when he started to deliver it was too late; Lee Cook promised much and was never fit (or possibly good) enough to deliver. Sam Sodje remains (though he has had a toe injury and may not start) as does Greg Halford.

And alternatively, a number of Addicks players out on loan have returned to the club: Aswad Thomas is suspended, so Accrington let him go, and Therry Racon has been recalled from Brighton now they cannot make the play offs. Why bring back Racon? He must be due a game on Sunday it seems, though Pards may have other ideas?

This is the team that Pardew may send out to recover some pride amongst SE7 faithful -

Nicky Weaver
Greg Halford
Madjid Bougherra
Paddy McCarthy
Ben Thatcher
Matt Holland
JonJo Shelvey
Darren Ambrose
Lloyd Sam
Andy Gray
Luke Varney

Subs from Randolph, Semedo, Sodje, Basey, Racon, Zhi, Wagstaff, Thomas, Iwelumo.

Actually, as I typed the team, I thought that really I have no idea who will play - who is fit, injured, teachers pet, or recent villain. I'll find out like the rest of us on Sunday lunchtime I guess...

My one-to-watch in this game is going to be JonJo Shelvey - a future hero? Probably.

Pedro45's last score prediction of the season is a 1-1 draw; we seem to have had lots of them at home this year, and I cannot see anything other than another frustrating afternoon in store. Maybe it will be different - we did used to win the occasional last game of the season when there was nothing left to play for, but usually we got stuffed (Barnsley and Middlesboro 5-2's come to mind); hopefully the Pardew mouth has been directed toward the players rather than just the media this week...

A win will get the crowd staying behind for the end of season after game walkabout by the clubs staff; a defeat, and don't expect there to be many left clapping at the end of 90 minutes!

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