Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

It’s some time since the last Charlton game, and I always find it difficult to get back into the blogging swing of things and do a match preview, but here goes.

Charlton travel to play a Southampton team whose "future is in jeopardy" according to the BBC website, and could be liquidated and drop out of the Football League if a new owner is not found by the start of next season. This would normally be expected to have a significant effect on the Addicks opponents, but as both teams, the bottom two in the Championship, are in similar straits, who knows what influence it might have on the match this weekend?

Charlton have moved to shore up finances by offering the freeholds of land for sale to current directors, and along with a loan from the Chairman, will be able to raise £2 million to help ease the financial pain over coming weeks. Season ticket prices have also been announced, and have been denounced by many waverers amongst the Valley faithful; Pedro45 will be buying his tickets next year without complaint, just as he has done every season for god knows how long – Charlton is for life in this household! I know it seems expensive, but that’s the name of the game. Rather than blame the directors (who would certainly be getting it in the ear if they didn’t try to generate enough income for the club…) we should all move on (if you buy, great, if not, that's fine too...) and try to ignore the blame game (Curbishley, Murray, Parker, Murphy, Dowie (spit!), Pardew, etc etc ad infinitum…) that is hurting the club so much these days.

On Phil Parkinson’s mind will be which players to pick: Charlton do have a mathematical chance of staying up, although nobody including your correspondent believes that it is a real option.

In goal, providing he has recovered from the back injury he had prior to the Preston game, Rob Elliott should continue. The defence is very likely to be unchanged, with on loan Danny Butterfield at right back, the also on loan Darren Ward at centre back, alongside Mark Hudson, and with Kelly Youga at left back. There are rumours that youngster Chris Solly is close to making a first team appearance, but I cannot imagine that being tried in this still important match.

In midfield, I fully expect to see Therry Racon, Zheng Zhi and Nicky Bailey carry on their recent good work, which on paper sees them as potentially one of the best midfields in the division(!). Tresor Kandol should continue to lead the line up front, and that leaves just two positions for Parky to make a judgment on.

This decision needs to be based on what formation he wishes to play; bearing in mind that he recently stated that Charlton were most likely to score with a 4-5-1 formation, I fully expect Deon Burton and Chris Dickson to get bench duties once more. That means that Lloyd Sam, Darren Ambrose and Jonjo Shelvey are fighting for two positions. Shelvey played the full match for the first time in a while in the last league game, and you would normally expect him to start again here, but he has been away for a week with England’s under-17’s in Germany, and played two matches. The issue is if he is fit enough after the trip? If he is, I expect Shelvey to start with Darren Ambrose as substitute for when he tires (as he normally does), and Lloyd Sam on the right wing. Sam was by far the busier and better player in the match versus Preston, where he played the second half after Ambrose gave a lacklustre performance during the first period. This unacceptable show was down we are told to a hamstring injury, so we must expect Ambrose to have recovered if he is to take his place in the squad.

This is the side I think Parky will send out at St Mary’s –

Rob Elliott
Darren Butterfield
Darren Ward
Mark Hudson
Kelly Youga
Therry Racon
Zheng Zhi
Lloyd Sam
Nicky Bailey
Jonjo Shelvey
Tresor Kandol

Subs from Randolph, Weaver, Moutaouakil, Solly, Basey, Holland, Spring, Ambrose, Dickson, Todorov, Burton.

Southampton have had injury concerns themselves to go with their off-field problems. They do expect Jason Euell to be fit to face his former club though, and line up alongside another ex-Addick Chris Perry. Their danger-man though is likely to be David McGoldrick, who has a decent scoring record this season, even playing for a poor team – it will be up to Ward and Hudson to contain this threat.

Pedro45 will be making his way down to the Solent, via a circuitous route, to watch the game, and has to be positive about the result; I predict that – as so often happens – just when it is too late, results will start to pick up, and I forecast a 2-1 win. If Charlton get on top, the crowd will turn and home heads will drop. I’m hoping that the Addicks can take full advantage and force their way to a second three-points on their travels this season. It won’t make any difference, we will still be relegated come the end of season, but a win will at least delay the inevitable by a few days or weeks…

My one-to-watch in this match is going to be Therry Racon. This game is one that he should relish – full of tussles and small battles with plenty of tackles offered and balls to be won. If Racon gets involved as he did when he first broke back into the team, his partnership with ZiZi can flourish and win points for the Addicks.

It will be strange to visit a team with possibly more headaches off the field than Charlton, and I do hope that our nice-guy image doesn’t prevent Charlton taking full advantage. Three points and a show that we can still win matches this season is really important now that the season ticket prices for next season have been announced. As long as the players and management realise this, then I am confident we can win.

Up the Addicks!

Labels: , ,

Good take on things and I wholeheartedly agree.

One small point of correction though; Shelvey hasn't played two games for England - he was on the bench unused for at least one of the matches.
I thought he played the first two of the three qualifying games?

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Enter your email address below to subscribe to Charlton Athletic Online!

powered by Bloglet
Sports Business Directory - BTS Local
Custom Search