Karel Fraeye faces a baptism of fire when Charlton play Middlesbrough tomorrow. Our last four encounters with them away at this level in recent years have produced one draw and three defeats. Charlton are 8/1 to win and 7/2 for a draw. A full set of officials from Yorkshire has been provided to ensure that no quarter is shown to southern softies.
I remember a 8-1 win over Boro at The Valley in my first year of supporting Charlton. Gloom merchants have piled in suggesting that we will be beaten 8-0 tomorrow.
I don't think that Stephen Henderson has suddenly become a useless keeper or that Bauer or the returning Diarra have suddenly lost all their skill as central defenders. Our problem is not defensive: other teams in the relegation league have conceded more goals away from home. However, we have only scored three goals away from home this season, a record equalled in the Football League only by Doncaster Rovers.
Shell shocked supremo Fraeye did not give a press conference yesterday, but is to give an interview on the official site today which will no doubt produce some formulaic replies. Fraeye knows that he has given up the comfort of the Belgian third division for an open return ticket on Eurostar. Boro are not the equivalent of Welling United.
It is difficult to see him pulling a rabbit out of the hat and I am forecasting a 2-0 win for the home side.
Charlton fan and author Paul Breen is taking an interest in the Save our Steel campaign and is featured in the local paper: Paul Breen