Thursday, August 21, 2008

Birthday Blues - Hopefully not!

I’m not really sure how to go into a preview of the first Charlton game I will see this season; it’s a long time since I have missed at least one pre-season friendly prior to the league series.

As I couldn’t make those noteworthy warm-ups at Brighton, Welling, Aldershot, and the like, and I was away on holiday for the first home league match, the League cup debacle, and the away game at Watford last weekend, I am both excited and apathetic about this weekend’s league game against Reading.

All of the, any, hope that Charlton fans may have had leading into this season seems to have dissipated after a lacklustre home win versus Swansea, followed by consecutive 1-0 losses against Yeovil and at Vicarage Road. How can fans be confident going into this weekends game against one of the favourite’s for promotion back to the Premiership, as are all of the relegated teams from last season. It will be tough!

Reading have had to sell – Kitson and Shorey have both left the Madjeski brethren, and the chairmen is left to curse the high wages he agreed to pay his players. Manager Coppell may regret not selling more players now, as he has to get to the top of the league soon, or he will see more and more of his best and fringe players loaned out (or sold) to cut down on that salary level. Having started with a win and loss in the league, he will be relatively happy, but only if another win is won at The Valley.

For Alan Pardew, he needs to get his players to turn the corner; yet to play a decent game this season, his team needs to show that they have not left all their flair and fitness in July (when Pards said they were ready to play league games...). I have always been in favour of Charlton having relatively poor pre-seasons; many times we have started a season in seemingly poor form only to get into the league groove quickly and to start to win points when it matters – beating Welling really isn’t an issue as far as I am concerned!

Pardew is not being helped by a few injuries hurting the consistency of the team (for once, Pards cannot be blamed for tinkering!) – Therry Racon the latest long term injury, with a broken foot sustained last weekend, just as he was cementing his central midfield berth. Grant Basey was the obvious replacement for suspended Kelly Youga at left back, but he too has an injury (to his hamstring) that will probably rule him out this weekend. Hopefully, the knocks being carried by Nicky Weaver, Mark Hudson, Jon Fortune, and Matt Holland will have healed, and all three will be available for the weekend match.

This is the team I think Pards will be forced to put out –

Nicky Weaver
Yassin Moutaouakil
Mark Hudson
Jonathan Fortune
Jose Semedo
Matt Holland
Nicky Bailey
Hameur Bouazza
Lloyd Sam
Luke Varney

Andy Gray

Subs from Elliott, Solly, Shelvey, Dickson, Fleetwood, Wright.

If you look at the proposed subs bench, you can see how thin on the ground Charlton are for players at this time! With Sinclair, Thomas, and Wagstaff all having left the ground this week, on loan (and eventually sold in Thomas’s case), even the reserves are calling up the (very) youngsters…

TV games have always proved a stumbling block for the Addicks, for some unknown reason. This game is likely to also be tough, and Pedro45 predicts another defeat, this time by 2-0; not exactly what he wants on his birthday! If Charlton play to their maximum, and Reading do not, there is a chance of an upset, but for the Addicks to win, it would definitely be an upset.

My one-to-watch in this game is going to be Nicky Bailey; a decent start against Watford last week, was ruined a little by having to play the whole second half one player short. Bailey appears to have the style of Mark Kinsella about him – honest, not shy to tackle, and gets forward and shoots when he has the opportunity. If he is half the legend that Kins is/was, then we will be happy fans. A home goal from the Essex signing would go some way to cheering me up and giving me some sort of birthday present, even if three points are not to be won.

I thought about looking up how Charlton have done on my birthday over recent seasons, since we have been back at The Valley, but decided that it wasn’t a good idea. The last time I remember seeing Charlton play on 23rd August was in 2000 I think – a memorable weekend! I was at Headingley on Thursday and Friday and watched England thrash West Indies in under two days; then caught the train to London on my birthday and saw the Addicks demolish Manchester City 4-0 (Robinson, Hunt, Kinsella and a Stuart penalty I think…); then went to a really good party in North London; then got home on Sunday to find the external drain blocked and a potential bill for £15,000! Luckily, my insurance company bailed me out but, good as parts of it were, I don’t want birthday weekends like that anymore please – just the three points would do for this old man!

Come on you reds!

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I think you'll find Basey had a 'meaningless international injury'
happy birthday for tomorrow ... made me smile thinking about the 4-0 against man shitty ... especially kinsella's class goal against the fat bastard they had between the posts ... wonder what he's up to now? ;-)

just googled this -
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