Monday, October 05, 2009

One Coat or Two?

I have never been to a Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie before, so the match versus Barnet on Tuesday night is going to be a first for me. Mind you, Charlton have never had to play in the competition before, so it’s no surprise I’ve never seen one of the games in this trophy competition.

I am proud to say though, that I did attend all of Charlton’s Full Member’s Cup ties in 1986/87, including the two 800+ gates in Croydon, and the Everton away game that went to extra time and penalties. After that came a fraught semi-final which had me on my way out of the ground seconds before the final whistle, only to see a last second equalizer followed by an extra time winner, and then my first visit to Wembley to see our beloved Addicks in action.

When you have seen your team, and in this case Charlton, run out at Wembley, it makes attending all of the early rounds of, let's face it, a Mickey Mouse competition worthwhile, even if we are likely to see some paltry crowds at some of the games we have to play. The crowd at Charlton for this tie is likely to be small, with only the lower West Stand initially being opened, and with a smattering of Barnet supporters stretched out in the Jimmy Seed end behind the goal.

Some fans are of the opinion that it would be good to be out of this competition as quickly as possible, so that the small squad we have can concentrate on getting promotion, our primary aim of course. Others though, think that as the highest placed league club in the southern section of the draw, we should aim to return to Wembley once more, and brush the sides we meet aside. I’m stuck somewhere between the two camps; sure, I’d love a trip to Wembley again, especially new Wembley, but if we get knocked out by Barnet, or in any other forthcoming round, I won’t mind too much as long it has little effect in the league games between now and March.

Whatever point of view Phil Parkinson has, it’s not as if he can just pick a reserve strength team anyway; the competition rules state that – “Each Club shall play its full available strength in all matches. The Board will from time to time issue a policy as to what constitutes ‘full available strength’. Any Club failing to meet this requirement will be required to pay a fine of up to £5,000.” Not being in a position to pay a fine, I guess we have to comply!

The agreed policy it seems is currently that “clubs will be required to include in their starting line-up at least six of the eleven players that have started most often in first team games this season. “ OK, that’s pretty easy to figure out – six of Elliot, Richardson, Youga, Dailly, Llera, Racon, Semedo, Shelvey, Bailey, Burton, and Sam. Picking six from eleven is no easy job, but it gets easier for Parky, because Lloyd Sam is unlikely to be fit after his first half groin injury at Leeds on Saturday, and Jose Semedo is also out of contention with a pelvic strain. So six from nine makes things a little clearer for Parky, and possibly harder for Barnet!

A number of those nine have had injury niggles this season, but have trended to play on through the pain (Richardson, Dailly, Bailey for instance), while others have looked a little tired of late (Shelvey, Burton, Racon for instance). So Parky’s pick will have to be careful, and we do not want to run the risk of further aggravating any loss of first team players before Saturday’s possibly must-win game against Oldham.

Parkinson will therefore have to weigh up each player in turn and see where they can fit in with the need to give some of the bench, and reserves, a run out in a competitive game. Izale McLeod is one who is very likely to start, and with Miguel Llera certain to come back into the side (replacing Sam Sodje who is on international duty) it is a chance for him to regain some confidence. Rob Elliot also seems like a shoe-in to me; it would be an ideal opportunity to give able deputy Darren Randolph a first team match, but the rules requirement looks to preclude this. Kelly Youga seems to enjoy his football, and he hasn’t had either too many games or too many apparent niggles, so I think he will play. I’m sure club captain Nicky Bailey will want to feature against one of his old clubs, and he will probably be given the chance to cement a place back in central midfield once more. That leaves any two from Richardson, Dailly, Burton, Racon and Shelvey. Although they have both looked in need of a break recently, I would play Jonjo in this game, and alongside Bailey in the centre of midfield, giving Therry Racon a rest. This may be just the sort of game where Jonjo can find some space, and put his undoubted talents to the fore, with Bailey playing the holding role alongside him. The other place I would give to Christian Dailly, simply as he needs to work on his partnership with Llera still, and he is also very fit and should be able to cope, even at his age. That would give Fraser Richardson a chance to rest his knee, and Deon Burton a chance for his nose to set better. Most of the players left out will need to be available anyway to make up numbers on the substitutes bench, which I am presuming is still seven players?

This is therefore the team I would like Parky to send out on the first stage of the road to Wembley –

Rob Elliot
Chris Solly
Miguel Llera
Christian Dailly
Kelly Youga
Grant Basey
Nicky Bailey
Jonjo Shelvey
Scott Wagstaff
Izale McLeod
Tamer Tuna

Subs from – Randolph, Richardson, Clark, Jenkinson, Stavrinou, Spring, Racon, Pell, Perkins, Holden, McKenzie, Burton.

Barnet will need to pick six of their team from Ismail Yakubu, Jake Cole, Albert Adomah, Mark Hughes, Paul Furlong, Micah Hyde, Ryan O'Neill, Albert Jarrett, Yannick Bolasie, Kenny Gillet, and John O'Flynn. With a much smaller squad than (even) Charlton, they may play their current starting eleven, or make minimal changes. Hyde (ex-Watford) and Furlong (ex-QPR) are old-hands who should be familiar to most Charlton supporters, while winger Adomah, midfielder Bolasie, plus centre half and captain Yakubu are all skilful youngsters. Barnet have had a decent start to this season, and currently sit fourth in League Two; they beat Millwall 2-0 to reach this stage of the competition, and are the lowest ranked team still in the southern section.

There will also be no extra-time if the game is drawn, with a deadlocked game being decided by a penalty shoot-out at the end of 90 minutes. In previous Full Member’s Cup games I have seen Charlton win a shoot-out at Everton, and lose one at Cambridge United, and it is a few years since we have had a penalty shoot-out at The Valley (was the last the win versus Luton or the defeat to Oxford?).

Hopefully, the referee Mr D Phillips will keep the game open, his cards in his pocket, and there will be no need for 12-yard pot-shots. Pedro45 is predicting a 2-0 victory for the Addicks, which will get the confidence back up and results back on track.

My one-to-watch in this match has to be Izale McLeod, as he is possibly the only player guaranteed to start in my opinion. Izzy has been a regular substitute over the last few games, coming on with 20-odd minutes left to try and make something happen. With a full game ahead of him, let’s hope his pace is too much for Barnet to cope with, and that he has brought his shooting boots with him. We all saw how delighted he was with the goal he scored against Exeter in the last home game, and I hope he can add to his goal record at The Valley. What he will not want to do is take his shirt off and get booked again, as that would leave him just one yellow card shy of a suspension!

Whether you place much importance on this game or not it has to be played and winning breeds confidence. It is a chance for some of the players (McLeod, Tuna, Wagstaff, Basey and Solly) who have been a little shy of first team football to get competitive game time, and push themselves into the picture when the first team are injured, suspended, or not performing as they should. It’s also a chance for some of the established first team to get some confidence back in their ability (Shelvey, and Llera). Let us not dismiss a win as unimportant, but similarly let us not worry about defeat if it should come; whatever happens, we should go home happy - just wrap up warm, it looks like being a wet and cold night!

Come on you Reds!

Labels: , ,

Hadn't realised that McLeod was so close to a suspension......makes his shirt removing celebration look rather more silly.
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