Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Shrimpers boss wants Pigott to stay

Southend boss Phil Brown wants Joe Pigott to stay at the club until the end of the season after he scored two goals in three games. He is currently on a 28 day loan: Pigott

Pigott has his admirers at The Valley and he has shown before he can perform against League 2 defences. For his development it would probably be best to let him stay at Roots Hall. In a worst case scenario he might be required at The Valley at League 1 level next season!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Defender set to catch Eurostar

Charlton are in advanced talks to take French central defender Naby Sarr on loan from Sporting Lisbon: Naby Sarr

More about Sarr here: Man for the big occasion

Reports from Spain are linking us with 26-0year old central defender Hector Rodas who plays for Levante UD. I would not say that his career has been stellar: Hector Rodas

Visionary coach or shameless nepotist?

That is the question posed by the Football League Paper in their profile of Guy Luzon. The picture emerges is a rather mixed one, but it looks like being a bumpy ride.

Perceptions of him in Israel are influenced by the unpopularity of his Libyan-born uncles Ami and Amos who control top flight club Petah Tikva. Journalist Alon Sinai told the FLP, 'his image in his homeland remains that of a master manipulator who owes his status to his connections rather than his talents.' Luzon himself said, 'I met with senior sports writers who told me they know how much I mean to my uncles - that's why they did hatchet jobs on me.'

After Luzon had a short and unspectacular career in Israel's lower divisions which was ended by injury uncle Amos appointed him manager of Tikva at the age of just 26. He led Tikva to second in the table and secured European qualification. He then went to fallen giants Happel Tel Aviv, but was sacked after just five months. He then joined Briei Yahuda and secured consecutive top three finishes and qualification for the group stages of the Europa League.

'The criticism of Luzon is not always right,' said journalist Ron Amikam. 'He was very close to his players at Tikva and they all liked him.'

Luzon is a fan of rotating players, Tal Ben Haim commenting, 'I've never seen anything like the amount of rotation Luzon uses, even at Chelsea.' [That's all very well if one has a squad with the depth and quality of Chelsea, but carries considerable risks at Charlton.]

According to Amikam, Luzon has a volatile temperament: 'He does not always communicate well, especially with the media. He can be very arrogant and does not stand criticism. In additional, he can be very emotional.' So we can expect some interesting press conferences and a few touchline incidents.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Charlton are a second rate Watford

That is the claim made by the Football League Paper makes today in article illustrated by a cartoon of the now famous revolving door at The Valley. The network model can work, the paper argues, if it is done properly, as it is at Watford, but not at Charlton.

The paper reckons that Roland Duchatelet saw Watford's 'foreign loanees waltz through the Championship. He saw them change managers with no apparent dip in performance. He saw them pushing for the Premier League and saw the riches at the end of the rainbow. He thought, "I'll have some of that.'"' [I'm not sure that Roland has ever given a moment's thought to Watford, but the argument is interesting nevertheless].

'Unfortunately, he failed to factor in some crucial differences. Like the fact that Pozzo also owns Udinese and Granada. One play in Serie A. The other is in La Liga. Or that the Italian employs more dedicated scouts than any other owner in world football. Not only is that a powerful, well-connected network, it has also been running like clockwork for 20 years. The upshot is a pool of players that Watford - or any other Championship club - could under normal circumstances neither attract nor afford.'

Listing Roland's clubs, the FLP says, 'Equating that ropey stable to Pozzo's resources is like comparing Steptoe and Son's backyard to a Swiss bank vault. Is it any wonder that almost every player Duchatelet has imported has proved unfit for purpose? This season has shown signs of improvement, but it is not like Yoni Buyens or an ageing Tal Ben Haim would walk into any Championship team.'

'Duchatelet's formative system has nothing to offer Charlton. That's not to say it won't in the future. The theory is proven. Right now Charlton need either investment in players or - as is happening - youth development. But that will not bear fruit without stability.'

Noting that managers are Charlton are changed like a broken light bulb, the paper argues that Roland needs to stop aping Watford's tendency to jettison managers.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Solid performance gets Addicks an away point

Wolves managed to open up space on the Charlton left in an early attack. Vetokele’s early attempts to get involved were unfruitful. Vetokele tried to make a pass to Harriott but was tackled from behind.

Bikey tackled well to stop a Wolves attack after Gudmundsson had his foot stamped on which drew no interest from referee d’Urso. Morgan Fox had to clear a Wolves attack. A free kick for Wolves created danger and Ben Haim had to intervene twice.

Cousins burst forward well as the two forwards were marked out of the game. Buyens defended well as Wolves counter attacked.

Wolves got the first corner of the game. Bikey made a good clearing header. Cousins threatened, but Wolves were able to intercept. A Wolves shot was blocked by Ben Haim.

Fox conceded a corner, but Ben Haim headed clear well. Harriott fed Solly, but he was blocked. Charlton were putting in some decent work and applying some pressure to Wolves. Luzon was very active on the edge of his technical area giving instructions.

Wolves tried to up the pressure, but Henry’s shot was off target. Harriott ran into the box but ended up leaving the ball behind. Wolves put in a header from a Henry free kick given away by Buyens that was not too far wide.

The ball drifted across the six yard box and it seemed as if it only needed a touch from Charlton. Morgan Fox was kicked in the face by Henry. Harriott was dragged down by Stearman and the charm merchant got the first yellow card of the game.

Dmitrovic came off his line and dived at the foot of the attacking player to make a good save. He then had to grab the ball to stop a threat developing. Wolves went past Bikey, but then he recovered at the expense of a corner. Vetokele headed the ball clear. Wolves won a corner in the minute added on.

HT: 0-0

Wolves made a double substitution after the break, having failed to obtain the expected lead in the first half. Ben Haim had to clear from an early Wolves attack. The corner was partially cleared by Solly and Bikey.

A Wolves free kick led to a corner which was cleared by Cousins. Ikeme had to parry a strike from Harriott at the expense of the first Charlton corner. The Addicks threatened again and won another corner.

<>A Cousins header went straight to Ikeme. Charlton were fighting for the 50-50 balls. Morgan Fox had to defend well. Vetokele and Harriott troubled Wolves and Stearman had to intervene. Vetokele got beyond Stearman and it needed an interception from Goulbourne. Solly took the corner.

Harriott came off and was not too happy after a good shift but Tony Watt came on. Fox had to make a good block at the expense of a Wolves corner. Watt powered at Wolves and put in a shot and Ikeme had to put it out for a corner.

Wolves got a lucky corner off Fox, but Charlton cleared. Vetokele, who had run himself into the ground, was replaced by Church.

Wolves were playing with more urgency as they looked for the winning goal. Veljkovic, who had played well, was replaced by Gomez. Dmitrovic had to make a good save.

Morgan Fox took a yellow card for the team as he brought down La Parra. Solly defended well from the free kick. Bikey lost his man and Ben Haim had to intervene. Jordan Cousins was being hit by cramp after a great shift, but he still managed to win a corner for Charlton in the last minute of normal time.

Three minutes were added on. Wolves counter attacked from the corner, but Buyens did enough. Watt got away from two players, but eventually lost out. Wolves attacked, but good work by Charlton saw the move end in a goal kick.

There was trouble between Dicko and Ben Haim after the former had dived for a penalty. Bikey got involved and received a yellow card. Charlton had played with commitment and determination. It was an improvement on the performance against Watford who were beating Blackpool 7-2. It certainly wasn't the drubbing the doom and gloom merchants were expecting.

Friday, 23 January 2015

New boss bounce could confound Wolves

On the face of it tomorrow's game between Wolves and Charlton looks like an easy three points for the home side. However, commentators in the Midlands fear 'a new boss bounce': New boss bounce

Pessimistic Charlton fans have already decided that Luzon will be thrown to the Wolves, writing him off as incompetent before he has had charge of a single game. Much the same was said about Riga when he took over from Chris Powell. Many fans hoped that Luzon would not get his work permit which was never going to happen given the political ramifications of such a decision.

Wolves are very much looking back up the table having ended their poor slump in form. The hosts have picked up 16 of the last 18 points available in the league, conceding just two goals in those six games to get their playoff challenge back on track. They now sit only one point adrift of the top six and, with two of the three teams directly above them in the table playing each other this weekend, Kenny Jackett's side will have a chance to close the gap.

Wolves are aiming for a fifth straight win in the second tier for the first time since 2008, and with three more teams currently in the bottom half to come in their immediate fixtures after this one, they will fancy their chances of extending that run even further.

Indeed, so high is confidence at Molineux that they think they could still win the title: We are going up

Wolves have won two of the last three meetings at Molineux, drawing the other. Charlton's last win there was a 4-0 triumph in the Premier League in August 2003.

I won't judge Luzon on the basis of one tough match, especially when he has had little time to prepare the team. I remain unenthusiastic about the appointment, but he is now the head coach and I want him to succeed. Come on you Reds!

One possible concern is that the banker from Billericay, Andy d'Urso, is referee. I don't think he has it in for Charlton, he is just a poor decision maker who will spoil the game. I will be surprised if there are 22 players on the pitch at the end of the match.

Odds are: Wolves 4/6, Draw 5/2, Charlton 9/2.

This is probably a forlorn hope, as I doubt whether he has strayed to SE7, but if anyone has seen Leamington's cardboard dog mascot Nimrod could they let me know as he is needed in the fight against relegation at Stockport County tomorrow: Where is Nimrod?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Charlton and Blackpool in battle for Grant Ward

Charlton and Blackpool are in a tussle for the signature of young Spurs midfielder Grant Ward on loan for the rest of the season. Ward is eager to get first team football, but whether he prefers the donkeys of Blackpool remains to be seen: Grant Ward

Ward made a favourable impression at Chicago Fire with his lively play and they would like him back, but admit that he is likely to stay on this side of the pond: Chicago on fire

Charlton are also being linked with Yeovil captain Joe Edwards. The full back is also attracting interest from Birmingham City and Bristol City: Joe Edwards

I think that what we really need are one or two experienced Championship players, by which I do not mean clapped out or over the hill journeymen. We can but dream.