Charlton face the daunting task of trying to get their season back on track at Turf Moor tomorrow. The Clarets have won five out of their last six matches and are currently 2nd in the table. Last weekend they beat Leeds United away and in midweek they defeated Nottingham Forest in the League Cup at Turf Moor. No wonder the odds favour a Burnley win at 5/6, draw 12/5 and a Charlton win at 7/2. It is 11 games since we kept a clean sheet.
The Addicks won 1-0 there last season, but Burnley fans had a sense of injustice about the result and our away form is nowhere near as good this season. Moreover, it seems pretty certain that we will without Yann Kermorgant who is one of our key players. Another minus is the absence of Chris Solly, while Leon Cort is also not available.
Burnley might be seen as a bit of a surprise package, particularly given the departure of Charlie Austin who scored 24 goals for them last season, securing a 11th place finish. Four Four Two had them finishing 16th this season. Manager Sean Dyche is remaining cautious, saying after the Leeds win, 'We have mad a nice start.'
Chris Powell may well start 3-5-2 as it still gives us our best chance of keeping it tightish as we showed in the draw at Watford. It's a pity in one way because Stewart and Harriott are our best options for pace and goals and they miss out in this formation.
However, one Addick commented, 'I hope he goes for a 451 with two proper wingers in Harriott and Stewart supported by our three best central midfielders: Cousins, Jackson and Stephens. I really don’t understand why Chris hasn’t started Jordan Cousins in recent weeks—from what I’ve seen from him this season he looks to be the most talented midfield player in the squad. So, why hasn't he been playing, or am I missing something?'
Another supporter drew attention to the dangers of 'the Pardew Principle! Have a bad game and get dropped. Then after having rotated over 30 different players in less than half a season wonder why you haven't got a settled side or have a clue what your best team is. Thank god we have a manager with more sense than that.' The problem for Chris Powell is that he is damned if he does change the team around and damned if he doesn't.
A long-term supporter commented, 'Given recent form, I have no expectations of a result today, but we do need to see an improved performance and for the players to show they have got the desire to be in the side.'
The odds must be on a Clarets win, but the Addicks can sometimes pull a surprise result out of the hat as happened at home to Leicester City. Let's hope referee David Coote doesn't live up to his name. He can always called on the splendidly named fourth official, Sebastian Stockbridge.