Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Charlton look for that illusive away win tonight with a visit to the Withdean Stadium in Brighton. Not since August have the Addicks tasted victory on the road – not even in the cup! – and if promotion form is to be maintained, then away wins are required to keep the chasing pack behind us.

It will not be plain sailing for Phil Parkinson tonight either, as he will probably be forced into making at least two changes to the side which beat Bristol Rovers last midweek.

Carl Ikeme’s loan spell ended in that last game, so one of either Rob Elliot, who has been out since the Gillingham game with a thigh injury, or Darren Randolph, so long the number two goalie, will be between the sticks. I’m not sure Elliot is quite ready yet, so Randolph may well get his first league start since January tonight, with young Jack Binks on the bench.

The defence also has injury worries, with Frazer Richardson only 50/50 to come back from his own thigh problem, and Kelly Youga also doubtful after kicking a player too hard last week and suffering his own thigh strain. Reserves Elliot Omozusi and Grant Basey will be on standby to play, but at least Sam Sodje is available after suspension to return (with Miguel Llera likely to make way) in the middle, with Christain Dailly making up the back four.

Thankfully, there are no injury concerns in the middle of the park, and on recent form we should see Jose Semedo, Nicky Bailey and Lloyd Sam strut their stuff in midfield. Who plays on the left is open for debate; Therry Racon got stuck in the Yeovil mud when he played there, and Jonjo Shelvey didn’t set the world on fire during his stint last week, so Parky has a choice to make. He will also consider the option of starting Scott Wagstaff (with Sam moving to the left) which is a positive move, and one that at least shows attacking intent. I suspect that if we have reserve full backs, then the more conservative approach may be seen tonight. Racon could also be playing at the club where he spent some successful time on loan a couple of years back, and for whom he said he wished to join should he not get his chance at The Valley, so he will want to do well.

Up front, it was excellent news to see that Dave Mooney’s loan spell has been extended for another month, and he has looked the part during his time with the club. The effort has been turned into goals in his last two home games, and he may well have scored in Somerset had he not been sacrificed after Sam Sodje’s early sending off. Deon Burton has also revelled in the recent games now he has someone who will do their own share of the work (and then some) alongside him; his hernia problem strangely seems to have got better, and he was able to play two full games in four days last week even though we were told it takes him several days to recover normally. With Akpo Sodje on the bench, despite his two goals in the last two games, we now have a potent attack that is to be feared. Add to that the experience and threat that Leon McKenzie and Izale McLeod bring in reserve, then Charlton have a decent forward line for every occasion.

This is the side I think Parky will pick to face the Seagulls –

Darren Randolph
Elliot Omozusi
Sam Sodje
Christian Dailly
Grant Basey
Jose Semedo
Nicky Bailey
Therry Racon
Lloyd Sam
Deon Burton
Dave Mooney

Subs from – Binks, Elliot, Llera, Richardson, Youga, Spring, Shelvey, Wagstaff, McKenzie, McLeod, Tuna, Sodje A.

Brighton will look to improve on results against the better teams in this league having lost to Leeds at home recently and also Norwich away; they have won their other three games under new manager Gus Poyet (a player I always admired…) so Charlton will have to be on form. The main threat to the Addicks is from a front line that features old hand Nicky Forster, and also Liam Dickinson, scorer of two goals for Blackpool against Charlton last season and a player once touted as Valley bound.

I have an old friend who works at Brighton, coaching some of the younger teams, including players who have made it all the way through to the first team. He is rightly proud to have seen these players come through following his input to their careers, but he is shortly due to move on to pastures new, even though he gets to travel the world in his role setting up and helping coaching schemes in Africa and the Far East. For him, it is now about doing things for himself, and with all the recent changes at his club – the new management team coming in and the forthcoming move to a new stadium – it is time to go. Sadly we will not have the chance to watch the game together as I cannot get down to the coast tonight, but I hope his boys do well but Charlton win. Pedro 45 is predicting a 2-1 victory for the Addicks.

My one-to-watch tonight is going to be Christian Dailly; with it likely he will have two reserve full backs playing with him in defence, Dailly will need to use all his experience to prevent the side leaking goals. He also has a good striker to mark, and will be a busy boy I think, with his hands full. Dailly hasn't been at his best over the last few games in my opinion, with through balls at Yeovil getting past him and a penalty conceded (whatever it was for?) in the last match, so let's hope he has a good game tonight.

That away win bogey has been sitting on Charlton shoulders for too long now, and as we enter December, it would be good to flick it off and keep up the pressure on others to match our results or drop back. It’s a busy month, fixture wise, so what better way than to coast to a win tonight on the coast.

Up the Addicks!

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