Thursday, August 27, 2009


I don’t want to put a downer on Charlton’s fine start to the season, but let’s not get too carried away with the fine start we have had. Four wins from four games does not make promotion automatic, and the finishing line we have to cross is a mighty long way away! But hey, why not celebrate a little – after all, it’s not everyday that we can say we are top of the league with a 100% record! After all, Spurs and Arsenal fans are acting like they are going to win the Premiership, so why shouldn’t we have some fun too?

I’m sure Phil Parkinson (left) will be frustrated by the lack of transfer activity, probably more so than us fans, but so far (fingers crossed) we have not sold anyone bar two of the clubs biggest wage-earners who didn’t really want to play for us anyway. Those funds received will go some way to off-setting the financial hit a season in the third tier brings, but maybe not all the way? The Board may decide that we have to cash in one of our playing assets over the next few days, and that will be hard for fans to take, but at least it may offer some funds for Parky to get a (cheaper) replacement? It would also be good to strengthen from a healthy position for a change, but the on/off/might-be-on-or-off take-over is holding everything up at present…

Sadly, any potential funds from the sale of Izale McLeod, Chris Dickson or Stuart Fleetwood would do little to influence a bank manager to re-offer any over-draft facility to the club. No, the only sales that might make a big difference will be those of Jonjo Shelvey and Nicky Bailey. Whether Charlton can keep them beyond the end of the August transfer window will go a long way in stating the Clubs aspirations for this season.

Saturday’s trip to the North-West to play Tranmere Rovers may be prior to any comings and goings; Prenton Park was a fortress for most of last season, but has already been breached by MK Dons this year. Rovers have, of course, appointed John Barnes (left), once of Charlton, and to date the only Addick player to have sung on a number one hit single, and the only ex-Addick player to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, as manager. Barnes first managerial appointment came as soon as he left The Valley in 1999, but his time at Celtic was flawed; he has since been in charge of Jamaica, before accepting the Rovers job in the summer.

Tranmere do, unlike some of the other teams we have played this season, have players who may be well known in South London football circles – Marlon Broomes is a defender who did the rounds about ten years ago with Blackburn, QPR, and Preston, while Alan Mahon (once a left back, but who now plays in midfield) recently returned to his first club, having had spells with Burnley, Blackburn, and Wigan amongst others. Ex-England international Michael Ricketts also joined John Barnes squad this summer; Ricketts was once quite a prolific goalscorer for Walsall, Bolton, and Middlesboro, before his injury and weight problems saw him return to the lower leagues once more; Tranmere are his eleventh league club, and his ninth in the last five years.

So Phil Parkinson will have plenty of experience facing up to his team at the weekend, though I doubt that will worry him untowardly. Once more able to pick from a full squad (bar Dean Sinclair), Parky is likely to stick to the same team that has carried the Addicks through the first four rounds of matches.

Rob Elliot is doing a fine job in goal, and though we have an able back-up in Darren Randolph, there is little likelihood of the Irishman forcing his way into the first team at present.

Fraser Richardson has come into the defence, along with Christian Dailly and Miguel Llera and they have all performed admirably. Llera has an obvious eye for goal, which is good to see after so many barren years for our centre-backs, and Dailly and Richardson have bags of experience which is helping then settle in enormously. Parky should be commended for bringing all three to the club this summer.

Our strength is in midfield, with few clubs we have played so far being able to compete with Jose Semedo (the man-of-the-match last week against Walsall and who should shake off a slight hamstring strain to play), Therry Racon, Lloyd Sam and Nicky Bailey. With Matt Spring and now Scott Wagstaff looking capable of filling in and playing well wherever necessary, we have a plethora of talent to see us through each game. Non-contract player Wade Small is no longer an option for Parky, as he has now left the club.

Jonjo Shelvey, who is a future midfield master, is playing just behind the lone frontman that is Deon Burton; these two have both scored this year, which makes a change for Addicks forwards. The strikers yet to score are all reserves, though it should be noted that Tamer Tuna – a stand in for Shelvey when he gets tired in my opinion – and Izale McLeod scored five goals between them in a midweek reserve match.

This is the side I expect Parky to send out on Merseyside –

Rob Elliot
Fraser Richardson
Miguel Llera
Christian Dailly
Kelly Youga
Jose Semedo
Therry Racon
Nicky Bailey
Lloyd Sam
Jonjo Shelvey
Deon Burton

Subs from – Randolph, Solly, Basey, Mambo, Spring, Wagstaff, Stavrinou, Fleetwood, Dickson, Tuna, McLeod.

Pedro45 cannot think of any good reason to suspect that Charlton’s winning streak will come to an end this weekend, apart from, that is, luck not being on our side. So far, the Addicks have had a few moments that have gone in their collective favour (the last few minutes versus Wycombe; the ref at Orient; poor finishing by Walsall, Hartlepool, etc), so it might be time for lady luck to even things up a little. For this reason only, I predict a 1-1 draw, though I hope that the winning streak does continue and the team carry on as league leaders for another few weeks.

My one-to-watch in this game is going to be Nicky Bailey (left); this is another game that could be his last for Charlton, and after a very quiet game last week he will want to get back into the goal-scoring habit and leave his mark on League One. If Bailey is to be sold before next Tuesday, then he can hand over the captain’s arm-band with head held high. I hope he is able to stay at the club, as he has shown himself to be a true professional, and his play on the left-wing has been excellent when you consider how unnatural that position is for him normally. A final goal (or two) would be a great leaving present.

It’s been lovely being top of the table this week, but there is so much more hard work to do before we can think about promotion back to the Championship and then dream of the riches beyond. Picking up points away from home is the right way to go about being in the mix come season’s end, and hopefully we can carry on our unbeaten (if not our winning) streak at Tranmere.

Up the Addicks!

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