Friday, December 04, 2009

Alive, Alive-O

A bit late with my blog preview post this week due to circumstances beyond my control. Hopefully, Charlton will keep better control of the game against Southend tomorrow, and continue with the winning streak which currently stands at two. It seems a long time since Charlton won three games on the bounce, but of course we only have to remember back to the first games of the season, with six out of six victories coming in August and September. Maybe it is luck, or maybe it is the kick up the backside that defeat in the cup at Northwich brought, but it’s great to see the Addicks on form once more.

Tuesday’s solid win in Brighton came with a somewhat changed side; back came first choice ‘keeper Rob Elliot, and Elliot Omozusi came into the side to fill the injury prone right back slot. The other problem position has been the left wing, and with Scott Wagstaff coming in on the right, the switch of Lloyd Sam (for the first half at least) worked a treat.

Unless there are any unforeseen injuries resulting from Tuesday, the only change is likely to be Matt Spring into midfield for the suspended Jose Semedo. Although one of Therry Racon or Jonjo Shelvey could play in the middle alongside Nicky Bailey, I think Spring will get the nod in order to maintain continuity as it was Spring who stood in for Semedo when he was injured a month or so back.

This is the side I think Parky will pick –

Rob Elliot
Elliot Omozusi
Sam Sodje
Christian Dailly
Grant Basey
Matt Spring
Nicky Bailey
Lloyd Sam
Scott Wagstaff
Dave Mooney
Deon Burton

Subs from Randolph, Llera, Racon, Shelvey, McKenzie, Tuna, McLeod, Sodje A.

It was good to see Dave Mooney’s loan spell extended, and hopefully the same can happen with Akpo Sodje too, as we haven’t seen the best of him due to a slight hamstring strain. Deon Burton’s hernia problem seems to be a thing of the past, so we are blessed up front (and even Izale McLeod’s suspension is over…), but in other areas the squad is showing its thin-ness with no full back cover at all (bar Sam Sodje/Nicky Bailey playing out of position) so the subs bench could be a bit forward heavy this week (which is no bad thing!).

Southend got stuffed by Norwich in midweek but they are capable of bouncing back and causing an upset, though this would be more likely if they were at home. One of their better players – Christophe – is suspended too, but Lee Barnard and Jobo Ibehre will be a handful up front for our defence. It remains to be seen if squad players and ex-Addicks James Walker and Osei Sankofa make the starting eleven or even the subs bench.

When you think back to the first games of the season, fans were really worried about our lack of depth to the squad and a plan B; well, if the team I show above is picked it will have six changes to the standard first team used in August and also another positional change. It is also set up as 4-4-2 and not 4-5-1, so it is very different. Credit should go to Parky for making these subtle changes slowly over the course of the first twenty-odd games.

Pedro45 is predicting a 3-1 victory at The Valley this weekend, and for the run of wins to continue. Of course, with Charlton you never know exactly what you will get but we should still have too much attacking threat for Southend even if they are capable of scoring the odd goal or two.

My one-to-watch this weekend is going to be the evergreen Deon Burton. I’m not sure if hernia’s can heal themselves, but the way Burton has played over the last few weeks you really wouldn’t know he had a problem. His header at the Withdean was a classic strike, and he should be able to get into double figures for the season at some stage later this month, which is a fine effort. It helps Deon to have a striker as intelligent and selfless as Mooney alongside him, and with Akpo Sodje on the bench waiting to come on with fresh legs, the goals could continue to roll in at The Valley.

A win keeps the pressure on Leeds at the top, and also keeps Norwich at hands length behind us; nothing else will do and I’m confident that we will win three more valuable points tomorrow.

Come on you reds!

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