Thursday, 7 October 2010
The northern hard men of Charlton go to the southern softies of Plymouth on Saturday after a mixed bag of away results over the last few days. Of course calling Plymouth softies does not reflect the steel that our players have faced from Plymouth in recent meetings. Three years ago in the Championship, the classy, Todorov's career was virtually ended by a callous unpunished foul at the Valley and later that season, having gone out on loan, McLeod faced similar treatment from the same player. Managers and personnel, let alone divisions have changed since then, but make no mistake this is a hugely important game for both sides.
At the risk of having our usual hopes and expectations being dashed on the rocks of reality, Charlton have every chance of getting something out of this game, having figuratively pulled their socks up against MK Dons and turned a deficit into a victory. Following a morale sapping defeat at Brentford on Saturday and goal after 2 minutes by former Man U player Kuke "Spotty" Chadwick – watch out Lee Martin and take note just because you came from the Man U academy does not mean you have a divine right to be a star, you have to work at not only your tricks but also your end product, or you could end up in a soulless town like Milton Keynes to ply your trade - it would not be unexpected for the team devoid of cohesion and confidence to crumble. From reports we may not have crumbled but we were not good in that first half. However a stern talking to or whatever happens behind those closed doors at half time and we are still Wembley bound.
Plymouth were one of my favourites for the top two this season, but they are languishing in 17th place three points behind Charlton with a similar last 6 games record 2-2-2. The fans must be disappointed with their big managerial recruit, Peter Reid who I am sure raised expectations of glory. Like us there is plenty of time to kick on for the pilgrims, Norwich and Millwall proved that last season, but with every match that goes past more pressure comes into play.
For us we have two players on fire at the moment, Reid and Wagstaff. At this rate Waggy could be a 20 goal man this season, instead of his key role being creating goals he is turning into the main man converting them, whilst without Reid there would be nobody loading the bullets. Reids crosses are proving invaluable but we have to be cautious, this time last season Lloyd Sam was in tremendous form and stood out as a class player in the team. Then opposition mangers double / triple marked him and for the rest of the season he was noted for his anonymity and the rest of the team failed to take advantage of the space created by defenders being drawn to him. Don't be surprised if Reid starts to fade as once again the opposition realise that if you cut off the supply, you cut off the goals and despite today's reassurance by Parky, we are scoring precious few of those.
If Reid does have reason to fade then we need players to step up to the plate. Martin has looked the part, but flatters to deceive, he needs to use his quick feet to hurt the opposition, not to just make them look stupid. Semedo is looking decidedly under whelmed with life and has lost some of that spark we know he has, maybe the sending off in the first game of the season has affected him, but he just has to get over it and play his normal game, along with Racon they have to boss the game not allow it to pass them by, or in Racons case get a decent loan in and ship Racon out in January, he has the ability now he has to deliver, he has been with us for too long now without achieving.
John Fortune has made an assured return to the club and alongside Dailly, I think we have the making of a decent central defence. Unfortunately Doherty and llerra may not win a turning speed competition with the QE2. Francis continues to be the focus of the boo boys and my assessment of him is that he has developed well defensively, but lets himself down with his distribution and that has to get better, as good defensive work is useless if we are just going to have the opposition come back at us. With Fry being injured Johny Jackson will revert to left back again, a position in which he excelled last season on his short loan, but this season has seemed less self assured.
Elliot is back, playing his third game in a week, Worner is back on the bench without having disgraced himself, although questions have been raised as to how he can describe himself as over 6 foot and presumably Luke Daniels is back in the black country with Deano.
Singularly this season we have failed to play for a full 90 minutes, if we do then I am sure we will get something out of this game, but if we don't then I can see another west country disappointment for the addicted faithful.