Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Relegation league v. promotion league

Something odd has happened to the Championship this season. The gap between the last play-off place and relegation was 14 points at the end of last season. The gap is 14 points this season after fewer than 10 games. This time last year we had nine points rather than five but were in the same league position (20th).

Unlike last season's even and competitive contest one is already seeing the formation of three divisions: a promotion league; a relegation league; and a 'we may not make the play offs but at least we won't get relegated' league. Tonight at The Valley one of the promotion league teams meets one engaged in a battle against relegation.

Looking at The Football League Paper scores for the game at Burnley, no player got the very low scores that were justly awarded for the performance against Millwall. The lowest scores (5) were for Lawrie Wilson whose play was inhibited by the yellow card he received and Cameron Stewart 'who struggled to make his mark'. The top score went to Mark Gower 'who shielded his defence well in the first half and always looking to drag his team forward.

Forest have drawn two, lost one and won one on the road this season. Chris Cohen is rated as 'consistent, energetic and a fine positive passer of the ball.' His surging run from the deep got Forest their penalty against Derby on Saturday.

For the Addicks, it looks as if Jacko has done his hamstring again, although the BBC says it is a groin injury. Cort and Solly are still both out, while Bradley Pritchard is doubtful after being concussed at Burnley. Whether Kermorgant is fit to start could have a big impact on the outcome of the game.

We last won a match against Forest in 2000. Charlton have not managed a clean sheet in the 16 home league games, and have kept only one in the last 24. We know from the 5-4 win against Cardiff last year that the Addickted can get behind their team when their backs are against the wall and they may need to tonight.

Forest's win against Derby led to the dismissal of Nigel Clough who has had to work with limited resources and rely on the development of youth players. It sounds a bit familiar and there are those at Charlton who think that Chris Powell is part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

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