Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Blank Holiday

Coventry City 0 Charlton Athletic 0

So no goals over Easter at all, either for or against, and with that goes all hope (if there was any) that Charlton could pull off the miracle and save themselves from relegation.

With an unchanged team, Charlton played quite well again, but just didn’t get the breakthrough required; after Rob Elliott made one good point blank save in the first half, Tresor Kandol had a goal disallowed for offside. Some reports say it was Jonjo Shelvey’s effort but it looked like Kandol to me…In the second period, an effort from Nicky Bailey was deflected onto the post (after Sam's effort hit the bar on Saturday, we haven't been helped by the woodwork recently!), and a Coventry break saw the ball roll just wide.

With other teams fighting relegation picking up positive results, Charlton are now 12 points from safety, with four games left. Even if all those four games were won, it would take a miracle of results to enable the Addicks to survive, especially as Forest have yet to play Southampton…

It does seem that the management have acknowledged this, and though the last rites in this awful season will be written on Saturday at The Valley, I still expect Phil Parkinson to put out his best team, rather than muddle about with the players. Once any calculators can be put away, we may then see some changes with next year in mind – Chris Solly will probably get a game at right back either against Cardiff or more likely Derby, and Scott Wagstaff could be preferred on the bench to Darren Ambrose. Tamer Tuna made the squad over Easter, but not the bench, and if he continues his good recent form over the next couple of weeks, he could force his way ahead of other strikers into the final sixteen. I’m not sure we will see any other surprises, as other options - Josh Wright, Rashid Yussoff - are out on loan, gaining experience elsewhere, while Harry Arter appears not to have made the grade.

I also do not expect to see any of the loan players at the club sent back early, as there is still a requirement for Darren Ward, as we have no centre back cover bar Matt Holland, and no other forward who works as hard as Tresor Kandol (which is saying a lot!). If anyone is cut from the payroll early, it will be Danny Butterfield, as Solly needs to be given a break, and alternatives are available if necessary in Yassin Moutaouakil, Jose Semedo, and even Matt Holland.

We do still have three home games to play, so the team are going to be able to play with some attacking freedom, and not worry too much if we do fall behind or lose. Certainly the games against Blackpool and Norwich are winnable, as is the match at Derby if we play well; Cardiff next Tuesday may be another matter, as they are desperate for the points, and may be just too strong.

With the current four game unbeaten streak being the best of the season, I hope the players try to carry it on; if we could make it eight games, at least that run will follow us all through the summer and hopefully give us some sort of impetus next August.

Saturday's match against Blackpool will be a game for diehard fans; we know we are going down, having accepted that fact some time ago, but if the team play well, whatever the ultimate outcome, we should cheer them as much as we have down over previous seasons.

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