Saturday 29 September 2012

To The Londoners 1-1

Although we only drew 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers at The Valley, I thought that this was one of the best performances I have seen this season. We played some good football and if it hadn't have been for a couple of excellent saves by Paul Robinson, we could have won all three points.

Even the Bloke Behind Me and his friends who normally have plenty of complaints about Charlton's players and tactics made no complaints, which must be a record. The Bloke Beside Me, Paul from Bexleyheath, was attending his first game of the season, having been away on a world business tour, and was pleasantly suprised by what he saw.

When I got to The Valley and heard that Ricardo Fuller was down with a virus, I feared the worse, but the forced 4-5-1 formation worked quite well, with Danny Green and Kerkar putting in good performances on the wing. Bradley Wright-Phillips put in a shift, but he is not a natural target man.

Perhaps one downside was an attendance of just over 17,000 on a pleasant day to watch and play football. Unfortunately we also slipped to 19th after Watford won away. Crystal Palace won at Bolton and Millwall drew at Burnley, but the Massives lost again.

Good news in the meantime about the signing of 19-year old midfielder Abdul Razak from Manchester City on a three month loan. He goes straight into the squad to face Watford on Tuesday.

The game had a rather curious start in that I didn't find anything worth writing down in the first ten minutes at which point there was the first meaniningful Charlton attack in which Solly was involved. Kerkar then put in a shot at an angle which was only just wide.

Blackburn's goal really came out of nothing with an attack in the right. As he advanaced, we thought that Etihu was marginally offside, but the East Stand linesman had a stiff arm and no flag was raised.

Jackson took a free kick but it was easy for Robinson in the Blackburn goal. Cort was pushed over and the referee pointed to the spot. Jackson put the kick down the centre and Robinson was able to save with his legs. However, chaos ensued in the Blackburn goalmouth and after 31 seconds Green turned provider for Jackson who scored, although Robinson seemed to head the ball towards his net.

Morrison put in some excellent defensive work. Kerkar won Charlton a corner. Solly stopped a break. A shot from Green came off the post.

Half time: Addicks 1, Rovers 1

Charlton started the second half rather hesitantly, as they had the first half, but their play over the period as a whole was much better. Good work by Jackson and Wright-Phillips won Charlton a corner, but the ball was cleared off the line. A Blackburn free kick hit the wall.

Jackson went down and had to be replaced by Pritchard. Scarcely had Pritchard got on the pitch before he was fouled. The free kick was in a very promising position not far from the corner flag but the delivery by Green was poor. Danny Murphy, to his great indignation, received a yellow card.

A defensive mix up nearly gave the visitors the chance to score and Chris Powell was going ballistic. Fortunately, the ball went just over. A Wilson cross produced a Charlton corner which was eventually cleared. Cort won a free kick. You would have thought a maths teacher like referee Deadman could have calculated that he should have played advantage. Green's effort was just over. Another free kick was awarded when advantage should have been played, confirming the referee's reputation as one of the worst at this level.

A Blackburn corner was saved by Hamer. Jason Lowe received a yellow card. A free kick led to a Charlton corner and in the subsequent play Cort put the ball over. Green put in a shot that many keepers would not have saved, but Robinson managed to, at the expense of a Charlton corner.

A Charlton free kick came off the wall. In the four minutes added on, Wright-Phillips tried a bicycle kick, but Robinson was able to tip the ball over. From the corner, Robinson had to make another save.

At the station I heard a Blackburn fan describing the match as 'Two mid-table teams slugging it out, but I think there was more it to than that.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible did not find it easy to award the Silver Bone as this was a team effort. In the end she gave it to Chris Solly who never failed to provide cover when it was needed and also contributed to the attack. Hamer did not have a lot to do and cannot be faulted for the goal. Morrison had a stellar game, although his positioning for the goal might be questioned. Cort was stalwart in defence and was a threat at set pieces. Both central defenders have been awarded a Silver Biscuit. Wilson is improving and his turn of speed was useful in relation to Pedersen. Stephens produced one spell of excellent play and was generally solid. Hollands did what he had to do, without really creating anything. Jackson scored after missing the penalty and had to go off injured in the second half. Kerkar had some nice touches, but his spell was probably in the last twenty minutes. Green was a threat on the wing, but not all his crosses were accurate enough. Wright-Phillips did his best, but it is no good hitting high balls up to him. His one real shot on goal came in injury time. Pritchard did a decent job when he came on. Evina had a cameo in injury time, a rather baffling substitution.

Despite some poor refereeing, there was only one candidate for the Hiss of the Match awarded by Juneau the Soccer Cat to Danny Murphy. He tried to disrupt the taking of the penalty, with some success, with his complaining and gave a tirade to the referee at half time. At least he went home with a yellow card and a chant from the Covered End about his wife's activities, other than her foray into journalism, to mull over.

Friday 28 September 2012

Kean beats curse of Charlton

Easy pickings for Blackburn?

Steve Kean has preempted the curse of Charlton by resigning ahead of tomorrow's game at The Valley. Kean says that he was forced out and it would be difficult to disagree with him.

A revitalised Blackburn now expect to start on their path back to the Premiership by taking three points off village team Charlton tomorrow. I am forecasting a 1-2 win for Blackburn.

The BBC have a lot of fun with puns about fowl play, chickens coming home to roost and the manager in a flap: Fowl play. None of the reports I have looked at mention Charlton.

Blackburn remember 1958

Blackburn Rovers are seeking inspiration from their 1958 4-3 victory over Charlton which was a black day in the history of the Addicks. Charlton needed only one point to go up, but the visitors secured all three and promotion: Rovers

Under the three points system in operation today, Charlton would have gone up. As it was, it was a long time before the Addicks were able to mount a comparable promotion push. The crowd (56,435) was and is remains a record for a second tier match at The Valley. At least we can expect more tomorrow than the 13,405 who were at Blackburn's last home game.

Steve Kean's position remains perilous, but the word from Blackburn is that once they are on the pitch they will go all out to secure the three points and I am sure that is what will happen. The Championship is a very competitive league and games like this make it attractive.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Smith loan move off

A loan move had been planned for Michael Smith, but that has now been postponed because of the Yann Kermorgant injury.

Congratulations to Mark Kinsella on his appointment as assistant manager at Colchester United. His last post was manager at Daventry Town.

Don't underestimate Blackburn

The current difficulties at Blackburn Rovers should not obscure the fact that they have a strong team. None of the pundits saw them as automatic promotion candidates pre-season, but two saw them coming 6th with the other placing them 8th.

There have been losses of key players following relegation. Yakubu Ayegbeni and Junior Hollett left leaving a void in attack that it will not be easy for Nuno Gomes to fill. Gomes has some neat touches, but does not get on the ball enough. Dickson Etuhu is seen as a sensible acquistion. However, although he works hard, he does little with the ball when he does have possession.

For the Addickted, there will be the excitement of welcoming Danny Murphy back to The Valley. Players are entitled to progress their careers and Murphy did a good job for us, unlike another acquisition around the same time, Marcus Bent. What I took exception to was the manner of his leaving with his wife, a 'C' list celebrity, slagging off Alan Curbishey in her column in The Times.

Blackburn fans took the view that they could build their team around Murphy, but although he tries hard, he was often by-passed in the game against 'Boro. Paul Robinson in goal is not as solid as one might expect for a former international. At right back, Bradley Orr is often exposed and offers little going forward.

Dann and Givet were not that impressive in defence against 'Boro, while Ribeiro in midfield had to be taken off at half time. Nunes was simply out muscled by Boro's midfield, but that is not our strength. Probably their best player and main threat is Jordan Rhodes, but he is often starved of the service he needs.

Director of football and Venky's 'global adviser' 'Chevvy' Singh has already made it clear that he regards Charlton as a bit of a joke village team, having found Charlton Village online, but his former role as a pundit on Asian TV may not have given him much knowledge of the Addicks.

This is not going to be an easy match, but I think we can win it. Once again, scoring first is important.

Elsewhere, the news that Leeds United have been taken over by a Bahrain-based firm reminds us of the financial resources we are up against in the Championship Leeds . Many football fans cried quietly into their cereals at the news that cuddly Ken Bates would no longer be involved in football.

Nearer home, the question echoing round The Valley tomorrow will be 'Has Mr Robin left the stadium?' It looks like the answer will be yes, but that will not be the last we hear of it.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Chicken lickin'

I was amused when Drinking During the Game referred to Blackburn Rovers owners Venky's as 'the Bernard Matthews of India'. In fact, Venky's are a wide-ranging conglomerate, but chickens remain at the heart of their business. That makes a lot of sense, as one of the first things that happens when a developing country becomes more prosperous is that the population starts to buy chicken meat.

Nevertheless, skills acquired in producing chickens do not translate readily to football. I was struck yesterday by 'Chevvy' Singh's remarks about departmentalism on Radio 5. Venky's 'global adviser' said that everyone at Blackburn had their department and if they did their jobs, all would be well.

I can see how this works in chicken production. One department breeds the chicken, another department raises them, a third one slaughters them, then they are prepared for the consumer and marketed. By analogy, the manager of a football club looks after the players like a mother hen during the week and then dresses up in a cockrel suit on Saturday and chases them on to the pitch.

The problem is that a football club is more than the sum of well functioning parts. A spirit and a belief has to infuse the club as a whole. Chris Powell has been able to produce such a spirit through inspirational leadership. Whenever I have seen Steve Kean he doesn't look all that inspirational to me, a damp rag is what comes to mind. Indeed, I am not sure that I would buy a frozen chicken off him.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Kermorgant out for three months

Yann Kermorgant could be out of action for as long as three months after breaking his ankle in training. The Breton will need an operation.

Thank goodness we have Fuller who can partner Wright-Phillips. It also gives Smith an opportunity.

Kean gets vote of confidence

Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean has been given the vote of confidence by owners Venky's ahead of Saturday's clash with Charlton at The Valley, reports Radio 5. Kean will remain in charge for the 'forseeable future'.

So-called global adviser 'Chevvy' Singh said that the situation should not have been allowed to escalate as far as had happened. Everyone had their departments and they knew what to do.

Venky's are not perturbed by the thought of facing Charlton which they see as a gnat on the face of football to be easily brushed aside. 'Who in India has ever heard of Charlton? They are not needing global advisers there.'

Blackburn Rovers supporters are reported to be 'disgusted' by the decision to retain Kean. However, he is by no means secure as his position remains 'under review'.

Monday 24 September 2012

Steve Kean may escape curse of Charlton

It looks as if Steve Kean may evade the curse of Charlton by being sacked today: Kean . The Blackburn fans have, of course, been on his back for some considerable time, but it looks as if owners Venky's have decided he has had enough chicken and chips from them.

It may be that the owners know more about English football than we think and were aware of the possible humiliation of being beaten by a small club from South London.

It looks as if assistant Eric Black will be put in temporary charge. Quite how the players will react is difficult to say, although they may do more to impress a permanent manager than a temporary one.

I had thought that Paul Jewell might be put on a tractor on a town, but his tactic of not shaving, dressing down and looking miserable may have worked.

Has Clingan joined us?

Wikipedia is listing Northern Ireland international Sammy Clingan as having already joined Charlton. He made his reputation at Nottingham Forest, but is a free agent after leaving Coventry in the summer.

Coventry fans were far from happy with him and were glad to see the back of their skipper: Clingan . It may be, however, that things didn't simply work out at the Ricoh for the midfielder, given the generally unhappy state of affairs there.

I can't find any independent corroboration of this story, but it is plausible in the sense that he would be a low cost way of strengthening the midfield. However, someone altered Chris Solly's entry on transfer deadline day to put him at West Ham.

The situation has now been clarified by Richard 'Creepy' Crawley of Pravda who has tweeted that Chris Powell has said that Clingan is welcome to train at Sparrows Lane if he wants, but it is not certain that he will want to.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Charlton win away

Charlton won their first away victory of the season 2-1 against Ipswich, the first time they had won there since Super Kevin Lisbie gave them a 1-0 win in the Premier League in August 2001.

Fuller replaced the injured Kermorgant and Kerkar replaced Hollands in the starting lineup at Portman Road, reports Paul May. Ipswich were without strikers Chopra and Taylor. Both sides used a 4-4-2 formation.

Charlton won a corner within the first three minutes, it was initially headed away, but Charlton kept possession. The move ended in a goal kick. Hamer had to save from an on target attempt.

Solly headed away a volley. Murphy put in a header which was gathered by Hamer. Scotland shot wide. The game was very open. Wilson put in an excellent cross, but Kerkar was unable to connect.

Green put in a good cross and in subsequent play he shot into the side netting. Haynes got a round of applause from the Ipswich fans as he warmed up, recalling his goals against Norwich City.

A shot from Wright-Phillips, following good play by Fuller, was blocked at the expense of a corner which was unproductive.

Charlton won their third corner in a good spell of play. Stephens took the fourth corner, but he overhit the ball and it went out.

Martin went down, but referee Atkinson was clear that it was not a penalty. Emmanuel-Thomas brought down Green and received a yellow card.

A firecracker by Stephens was saved by Loach. Jackson cleared an Ipswich attack. A run by Luongo gave Ipswich their first corner on 29 minutes. Charlton won a free kick.

The game entered a quiet phase. Green over hit a cross which went out. Morrison defended well. Cort and Morrison combined well. One minute was added on during which Charlton won a free kick.

Although the game was end to end, it had not been a half packed with incident. The home crowd seemed rather bored.

Half time: Tractors 0, Addicks 0

Emmanuel-Thomas was replaced by Ellington. Kerkar put in a decent ball, but Fuller failed to make contact. Jackson got on the end of a ball by Kerkar after Wright-Phillips had not made contact to make it 1-0 to the Addicks two minutes into the half. The move was started by Fuller and Green.

Fuller advanced, got a yard of space in the box and made it 2-0 to the Addicks. The Addicks won a free kick 30 yards out. Green’s effort went straight into the wall. Ipswich counter attacked, but Morrison dealt with it well. Luongo shot and Hamer was at full stretch, but it went just wide.

Smith did well against Wright-Phillips. Scotland put in a drive, it might have taken a deflection that wrong footed Hamer and it was 1-2 twelve minutes into the half. An Ipswich counter attack led to a corner. The home crowd’s spirits were up. The ball from Drury was troublesome.

Wright-Phillips gave the ball away to Cresswell and Ipswich were able to get two shots in with Morrison eventually clearing.

Fuller was showing signs of tiring. Morrison defended well to prevent a corner, but Charlton were getting pinned back. Hamer had to come a long way out of his goal to deal with a threat.

Wilson went down with a head injury but was able to continue. Another effort by Scotland went wide in line with his shoot on sight policy. Morrison headed away as Ipswich advanced.

Ellington fired over the top for Ipswich with 15 minutes to go. A shot by Ellington was deflected, Hamer put it out for a corner. Jackson defended and then Wilson headed away well.

Murphy who faded in the second half was replaced by Carson. Green sent the ball into row Z. Kerkar was withdrawn, having had a good game, and replaced by Pritchard. Green switched to the left.

Chambers put in a late challenge on Fuller. Solly got a block in at the expense of a corner. Jackson flung itself at a shot to give Ipswich another corner. Ellington’s header was wide.

Loach made a good save from Stephens at the expense of a corner after good play by Wright-Phillips. The referee gave a contested dropped ball some 25 yards from the Charlton goal. The ball dropped to Ellington after Cort had put the ball high in the air but it sailed over.

Five minutes were added on. Chambers covered well as Wright-Phillips threatened and won a free kick. Wilson gave possession away, but Morrison cleared. Cort then had to clear with a flying header. Fuller was advancing on goal but the lino ruled him offside. Higginbotham came on in place of Smith.

The ball came off Wilson for an Ipswich corner. Loach came forward. Jackson headed it away. Pritchard won a throw. Dervitte and Haynes came on with Wright-Phillips and Fuller going off. Haynes received warm applause from the Tractor boys. Dervitte headed away a Loach goal kick and then hammered the ball away again.

Ipswich were given a free kick 25-30 yards out. Drury’s effort sailed over the top in the seventh minute of stoppage time and the home fans headed for their tractors with those left booing.

Jewell gets vote of confidence

Paul Jewell has received the vote of confidence from low profile Ipswich owner Marcus Evans ahead of today's clash with Charlton: Jewell

Given the disarray in the Ipswich camp, there is a real chance of getting three points today, although it is always possible that the backs against the wall scenario will bring out the best in their players.

We have been losing games by the odd goal which suggests to me that we are just one or two players short of a competitive Championship side.

Friday 21 September 2012

Charlton in for Briggs

Charlton are interested in a loan deal for Fulham defender Matthew Briggs, reports Pravda. The Addicks are looking to bring in a left-back to cover the absence of Rhoys Wiggins, who could be out for up to two months after breaking two bones in his right foot in the derby defeat to Crystal Palace.

This does not indicate a high opinion of Evina on Chris Powell's part. The left back was confined to a bench warming role at Derby.

Chopra rows with fans at Ipswich

It's not a good sign when players row with fans on Twitter, but that is what is happening at Ipswich Town with striker Michael Chopra denying that he is 'useless': Ipswich

All this, of course, could provoke more determination from Chopra and the other players. But if Charlton score first the crowd could soon get on the team's back. Manager Paul Jewell must feel that he is at risk from the curse of Charlton.

To add to his worries, it looks as if striker Paul Taylor will not be available after his injury on Wednesday: Taylor

Thursday 20 September 2012

Victory around the corner for Ipswich

Ipswich manager Paul Jewell is confident that victory for the Tractors is just around the corner, starting with Charlton on Saturday. Given that he's already being criticised, he's hardly likely to say anything else

Pre-season the pundits had limited faith in Ipswich, while agreeing that they would escape relegation. Four Four Two had them at 14th and The Times at 15th which is where they finished last season. The Football League Paper had them down at 19th.

Striker Michael Chopra seems to have lost his golden touch. In the defeat at Boro he kept running but made little of the chances he had. Paul Taylor, signed from Peterborough for £1.5m, showed good movement behind Chopra and was more likely to score. However, he limped off injured in the Wolves game. Arsenal youth product Jay Emmanuel-Thomas has become a source of frustration to fans and did not play against Boro, although he came on a sub against Wolves Fans would like to see Luke Hyam used, but he stayed on the bench at the Riverside and against Wolves.

In defence Luke Chambers looked reasonably strong at Boro, while Aaron Creswell put in a decent shift on the left of defence, but could not get into the game. Keeper Scott Loach saved a penalty against Huddersfield, but was at fault for one of the goals at Boro. N'Daw was largely anonymous in the centre of the park, but former Manchester United trainee Lee Martin was more impressive. Daryl Murphy could not make any passes count.

Against Wolves the Tractors wasted chances galore either side of a comical own goal from defender Tommy Smith in the 68th minute. The Kiwi still seems to be suffering from jet lag after his return from international duty. Ipswich have the worst goalscoring record of any club in the division. Paul Jewell confessed, 'We're not just missing half-chances - they're gilt-edged opportunities.'

I find this a difficult match to call, but it's at least possible that we could take all three points. A lot will turn on who scores the first goal.

Charlton seek traction

Ipswich warm up before their defeat against Wolves on Wednesday night

It's a relegation zone battle at Portman Road on Saturday with second from bottom Ipswich facing third from bottom Charlton. One of my best memories of an away game is at Ipswich when we beat them 5-1, including a Leaburn hattrick. One Tractors fan took such exception that he confronted me in the car park afterwards and said I should be ashamed to wear the Charlton shirt. Shame was not my predominant emotion.

On another occasion they beat us 2-0 in the pouring rain, only enlivened by the one appearance of our Iranian international as a substitute and one female supporter bringing a blow up doll of Andy Hunt. But then we also a had 1-0 victory when an excellent breakaway goal was scored by Super Kevin Lisbie.

There's no doubt that the transition from League 1 to the Championship has been a tough one for the Addicks. The game is played at a faster pace, passing is more accurate and defences are stronger (although not by that much). Resorting to the long ball is not the answer.

However, for those who would sack Chris Powell and follow the AFC Wimbledon route of advertising on the web for a new manager, I would urge caution. Powell did not get all the strengthening that the team needed over the summer. One narrative has five players waiting to sign contracts at The Valley with the plug pulled at the last minute.

To be fair most fans are not calling for Sir Chris's head but calling on him to 'sort it 'aht'. But that is easier said than done. Although I think there is much to be said for a Fuller start, he is probably not yet fully fit. Bradley Wright-Phillips has been working his socks off and Yann Kermorgant has shown that he can still pop up and score goals.

In fact the real problem is not up front but our inability to control the midfield. Bringing in Green certainly helped, but I would also start Kerkar who seems to have been lively against Derby.

It is also worth noting that the Massives, seen by many as certain promotion contenders, are not having it all their own way. A 3-0 defeat at Brighton was followed by a 1-3 defeat at home to Huddersfield last night.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Addicks fight back but lose 3-2

There was only one change in Charlton’s line up at Pride Park, reports Paul May. Danny Green came in for Pritchard. Wilson took the right back slot with Solly on the left. Evina was on the bench

Charlton won their first corner within two minutes following a free kick. Jackson’s corner was a good one but unproductive with Kermorgant jumping a fraction early.

Ward’s free kick was driven into the wall. A shot from Coutts was blocked. A shot by Bryson was on target but with a block by Stephens, Hamer was able to gather. On seven minutes a volley by Ward picked up pace and Derby were 1-0 up, reflecting the intense and lively early play of the home side. Hamer might have got down more quickly. The Derby midfield looked a lot stronger.

Wright-Phillips put in a good cross, but Jackson was unable to take advantage. Sammon broke in behind Morrison and Cort, but he put the ball over.

Charlton were finding it difficult to build a rhythm with the Rams pressing them hard. They were playing neat and tidy possession football, much sharper, getting to the ball first.

A Derby free kick led to their first corner of the game, but Hamer was able to gather from the subsequent play. Wright-Phillips advanced, but his effort was poor. Solly defended well against Sammon.

Derby won a corner through pressure. The Addicks had difficulty in clearing their lines. An effort by Ward hit the side netting. Hamer was able to gather from another Ward attack. The Addickted started a chorus of Valley Floyd Road. The home crowd was surprisingly rather subdued.

Sammon was unable to make use of an opportunity created by Ward. From the corner Hughes was unable to make use of an opportunity.

A shot by Coutts was blocked by Solly. Sammon had a half chance but put the ball wide. It had been all Derby, but at least Charlton were only 1-0 behind giving Chris Powell a chance to revitalise his troops.

Half time: Rams 1, Addicks 0

Charlton started the second half brightly. They were closing down Derby more effectively. Wilson advanced and the Rams had to concede a corner taken by Stephens. Derby had to clear off the line from Jackson but they counter attacked and the shot from Ward just went wide.

After an awful back pass from Morrison, Hamer blocked from Sammon after Hughes squared the ball, but Bryson was able to blast into the empty net from six yards out to make it 2-0.

Wilson blocked an effort from Hughes. The corner was clattered away by Solly. Green put in an excellent cross but Kermorgant’s header was over.

Wright-Phillips was replaced by Fuller and Hollands was replaced by Kerkar. Fuller was ruled offside while Kerkar was onside. Stephens got a yellow card for a foul.

Green leant in on Ward and the referee theatrically pointed to the spot for a soft penalty. Hamer got a finger to the ball but Ward made it 3-0. After another back pass, Ward had a chance to make it 4-0, but Hamer was just able to scramble it clear.

Charlton won a corner, it was headed away but Danny Green put in a stormer from over 30 yards out to make it 3-1. Hamer saved from Ward. Kermorgant was fouled and the Addicks won a free kick, but it ended in a throw in. Danny Green turned provider for Kermorgant to make it 3-2.

Referee Phillips booked Bryson for time wasting. Green advanced well, getting past two Derby players, but the Addicks were not able to capitalise. O’Connor felled Kermorgant and was shown the yellow card. Buxton came on immediately to replace him. The free kick was unproductive.

Charlton applied more pressure, but eventually Derby got a goal kick. Hughes was replaced by Robinson.

Derby got a corner on the insistence of the assistant referee. The Rams took it into the corner, but lost possession. Five minutes were added on. Danny Green won a corner for Charlton. Hamer came forward, it was cleared off the goalline from Jackson. Morrison got a yellow card.

A third defeat in a row for Charlton, but a spirited fight back.

Derby lineup strengthened

The return of 24-year old midfielder Paul Coutts from a bout of flu has strengthened Derby's lineup for tonight's game:


American Conor Doyle who came in to replace him got poor ratings from the press and received ironic cheers from supporters when he was substituted.

Nigel Clough said he was impressed with what Chris Powell has achieved at Charlton. Powell is a popular figure at Derby from his spell with the Rams.

Reo-Coker to sign?

Press reports this morning are suggesting that free agent Nigel Reo-Coker may be about to sign for Charlton. Certainly he has been a target of Chris Powell for some time: Reo-Coker

He would be a very good signing in my view. But one Addick has argued that he has a bad attitude and is unpopular with other players.

However, another Addick argued: 'For what it's worth, I think Sir Chris has a touch of the man management skills of Brian Clough - Clough was brilliant in taking waifs and strays who had a reputation/trouble career/lost their way, and turning them into achievers. Thus far (and admittedly it is early days but Kermorgant and Morrison are prime examples), our man in charge seems to have a bit of that about him - if anybody could take someone with a bit of an iffy reputation, and turn them around, then SCP is the man for the job.'

He was born in Croydon. Earlier clubs were Wimbledon, West Ham, Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers: Reo-Coker

Pravda has now reported that he is training at Sparrows Lane for fitness and a permanent deal has been ruled out. That does not exclude a temporary deal, however.

Monday 17 September 2012

Hungry Rams

Rams boss Nigel Clough will celebrate four years at Pride Park this season, if celebrate is the word. He is still looking for his first top-ten finish and so far it's been a continual battle in the lower reaches. He has assembled a young and hungry team, but it needs a bit more quality.

In the pre-season predictions, Four Four Two had the Rams in 18th place. This was also the view of The Times, while the Football League Paper had them one place above the relegation places in 21st.

Even so, the Rams are the favourites to win tomorrow night with Coral putting them at 6/5 with a draw and a Charlton win both at 9/4. However, the 'easy three points' view emanating fromm Pride Park may be a touch premature.

Derby's Young Player of the Year Jeff Hendrick was talked up a lot pre-season and there were rumours of interest in the midfielder from Villa and the Baggies. However, against Huddersfield he struggled and was unable to dominate his opponents in central midfield.

In goal Frank Fielding is rated as one of the division's best keepers. John Brayford gets forward at every available opportunity while Richard Keogh commands the defence well and makes a nuisance of himself at the other end. Skipper and centre half Shaun Barker is out all season as he recovers from major knee surgery. Barker can amuse himself playing vinyl records as a joke plea for them on Twitter led to him being inundated with one fan sending him 300 alone.

Jamie Ward was Derby's best player against Huddersfield and offer their most potent attacking threat. Conor Sammon showed plenty of energy and determination, but there was no end product and he was eventually replaced by Theo Robinson. Despite taking an even share of the possession, the Rams only had one shot on target all game.

No one would blame Chris Powell for being bold, even if it didn't work out, although the loss of Wiggins could lead him to be cautious. Kermorgant, whose presence tends to encourage the long ball, could be replaced by Fuller. Pritchard could be replaced by Green, if one is prepared to gamble that Green can improve his decent crosses ratio: the approach can inspire, but the end product often does not. Dropping the skipper could be contentious, and is unlikely.

I am going for a 2-1 win for the Rams.

Rams look to crush Addicks

Derby County are hoping to bounce back from of the disappointment of their 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield on Saturday by replicating their 5-1 victory over Watford in their last home match when they face the Addicks on Tuesday night: Rampant

The news that Rhoys Wiggins has a double fracture of the foot is a real setback. I would play Evina in his place rather than switching Solly over to the left.

The Blackheath Addick has pointed that so far we have had a win, a draw and a defeat at home and a draw and a defeat away. All that is missing is an away win. The usual suspects are arguing that if Chris Powell does not win one of this week's away games, he should go. A complete over reaction.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Rick Everitt to leave?

Rick Everitt

There is growing speculation that Rick Everitt may be asked to leave The Valley. This would not be a complete surprise as friends of his told me in August that he was in hot water for remarks he made on Charlton Life about fulfilling expectations. It would also be consistent with a general desire to clear out remnants of the ancien regime at The Valley.

Rick Everitt played a prominent role in the Back to the Valley campaign about which he wrote an invaluable book. He was also the editor of the much loved Voice of the Valley fanzine. He was the inspiration behind the Valley Express service, popularly known as the Rickshaw.

A Reading politics graduate, Everitt now lives in Ramsgate where he is a town councillor. However, he is believed to have a pied a terre in Welling, rumoured to be under the stand at Park View Road.

Everitt may not be able to make any comment himself for legal reasons and this would also apply to earlier departures.

Valley of Disappointment

I was expecting a draw from this game so I was disappointed to see Crystal Palace secure a rare victory at The Valley with a 1-0 win over Charlton last night. It was 1968 when they last won there. Despite a harsh offside decision against Bradley Wright-Phillips in the first half, it would be difficult to say that it was an unfair result. Palace played us off the park for much of the game, securing 56 per cent of the possession.

There were a number of deficiencies in our play. We started to rely too much on the long ball, but Kermorgant was only able to play a limited role in the game. We also lacked width until Danny Green came on late in the second half. Our passing was less precise than that of Palace and our movement off the ball was often not good.

Wiggins put in a good cross, but the header from Wright-Phillips was saved. Hollands was out manoeuvred. Wiggins lost out in a duel and a Palace effort was just over. Wiggins turned provider again with a good cross, but Wright-Phillips was off target.

Zaha was causing all sorts of trouble to the home defence with his strength, pace and skill and it is a mystery why he has not been snapped up by a Premiership club. His first pull back from the goal line was blasted over by Dikgacoi. Then Zaha made another powerful weaving run and his cross found Glenn Murray. His effort was blocked by Hamer, but then the alert Cort had to clear Garvan's follow up off the line.

After Wiggins had tangled with Zaha, he was down or ages before play was stopped. He then had to be helped off and Wilson came on in his place. This did unbalance us and it would have been useful to have Evina on the bench. Stephens received a yellow card for getting too involved.

Cort conceded a corner when he could have allowed the ball to go off, but perhaps that reflects the pressure he felt he was under. Palace played the corner short and it has to be said it was hopeless. Palace then won another corner which was gathered by Hamer. Palace had two foul throws awarded against them, significant given the reluctance of officials to recognise them.

A free kick by Wilson was nodded on by Cort to Wright-Phillips, but although his header went past Speroni, the offside flag was raised, no doubt disappointing Ian Wright sitting in the stands.

Dale Stephens drove just over from distance. A Charlton corner followed good work by Wright-Phillips. In time added on Wright-Phillips was tripped, but the free kick by Jackson was saved by Speroni. There was still time for a Palace free kick.

Half-time 0-0

Palace took the lead five minutes after the break when the Addicks failed to deal with a corner taken by Gavan. Delaney was unmarked as he headed the ball back to Dikgacol and the Springbok put in a fierce drive from 12 yards out to make it 0-1.

Crystal Palace then won a series of corners. Jackson was taken off and replaced by Fuller. Wilson was given a yellow card, providing Palace with a free kick in a potentially dangerous position, but they were not able to make anything of it. Fuller was receiving close attention from the Palace defenders and Jedinak received a yellow card for a foul. Charm merchant Bolasie then received a yellow for kicking the ball away and Murray subsequently also entered the referee's notebook.

There was an opportunity to level on 71 minutes when Cort nodded a Wilson free kick downwards, but Hollands scuffed wide. Fuller was just inches wide after good work by Solly.

In the four minutes added on Fuller had a deflected effort tipped on the bar by Speroni. Hamer came up for the corner and but for Garvan's efforts on the goal line would have scored an equaliser. Hamer then tried an overhead kick from the rebound. Wilson blasted over from a final half chance.

The usual suspects have come out of the woodwork to argue that Chris Powell has just three matches left, but that is ridiculous.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Michael Morrison. Responsibility for our defeat does not rest with him. He was tireless and strong in defence throughout. Hamerwas not really at fault for the goal and nearly scored towards the end of the match. Cort was very solid in defence and was up there for any set piece opportunities. The injury to Wiggins looked worrying, but he was not having the best of games before it happened. Solly was sometimes out muscled by the Palace players, but had a better second half, coming forward well. Jackson did not have the best of games and was eventually substituted and there are growing concerns about whether he can hack it at this level. Pritchard seemed to be out of his depth and certainly did not offer enough width. Hollands put in a decent shift. Stephens had a decent enough game without really imposing himself. He put in one good shot. Kermorgant was not very prominent, but that partly reflected the service he was receiving. Wright-Phillips was very energetic and it was not his fault that his goal was ruled offside when a Palace player on the ground was arguably playing him onside. Wilson did lack energy and commitment and tried his best, but quality was lacking. Fuller came very close to scoring. Green made a positice difference when he came on.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to the Nigels letting off firecrackers in the Jimmy Seed.

Friday 14 September 2012

Speroni expects tough match

Palace keeper Julian Speroni is expecting a tough match at The Valley tonight. He thinks that the Charlton defence is hard to break down: Speroni

Speroni seems to think that Palace are particularly vulnerable at corners, although I think we do not always make best use of our corners. I am more concerned when the opposition gets a corner than hopeful when the Addicks win one.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Stephens expected to return

Dale Stephens is expected to return to the Charlton line up at The Valley tomorrow evening. There has been some media speculation about Ricardo Fuller starting, but I would think an appearance from the bench is more likely. There is no doubt, however, that he has real quality to offer.

If you are interested in the betting odds, there is a report here: Palace

Possibly the most exciting way to prepare for the game is to buy the Croydon Advertiser which is promising an 'Eagle packed issue'. There will also be a special double glazing offer and coupons for Sainsbury's. More about the delights on offer, including Speroni's battle against a finger injury here: Eagle Packed

Trust needs your support

Charlton fans have revisited the idea of forming a trust and a motion has been carried that a Supporters Trust should be created to harness the backing of all Addicks.

The main objectives are to represent the fans and positively engage with the club as it progresses in the future. A core objective is 'To preserve Charlton Athletic Football Club for this and future generations.' The Trust notes, 'Most of the clubs Charlton compete with benefit from a strong and vibrant Supporters Trust and now, as the team and club are building for the future, is the time for Charlton fans to show their support and join us to help make the Trust and the club a success.'

The Trust states, 'This can firstly be done by attending our next meeting which is on Tuesday 25th September. We will be voting again to endorse the Trust and Supporters Direct will be attending. Secondly, by registering your support and subscribing to our mail list - please include your full name, date of birth, email and postal address. We will also soon be starting a membership scheme that fans can participate in.'

'For further information on the Trust please visit our website and ‘like’ our Facebook page we can also be reached on twitter @castrust and email to'

With the Supporters Club no longer functioning except through individual branches such as West Sussex fans need a collective voice. Indeed, it is questionable whether the Supporters Club ever functioned in that way. Even the fans director was hemmed in by the requirements of company law and commercial confidentiality.

Let us hope that it is possible to establish a positive and constructive relationship with the club which will enable the Trust to contribute to its success and development.

Some consider that the pattern of activity in the transfer window suggests that the financial challenges at the club have now gone and it is certainly the case that the immediate concerns have dissipated. It is understood that the Inland Revenue has been paid, so threats of a winding up order have disappeared. Wages were paid in full at the end of August. Whether invoices outstanding from March, when the underlying financial position appeared to deteriorate, have been settled cannot be known.

How much of the Sky TV and season ticket money has also been committed is an interesting question. However, a gate of 21,000 is forecast for Friday, generating around 10,000 walk up sales which will be a useful contribution to cash flow.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Palace preview

Hopefully the low point on Friday will be when I encounter the massed hordes of Nigels at London Bridge and from then it will only get better. This is a match that could go one of three ways as is reflected in the odds: evens a home win, draw 23/10. Glaziers 11/4.

We have won our last three league matches against Palace at The Valley: 2-1 in 1999/2000, 2-0 in 2007/8 and 1-0 in 2008/9.

The pundits were not too optimistic about Palace's prospects at the beginning of the season. Four Four Two had them finishing 20th. The Football League Paper had them in 23rd with only Millwall below them. The Times had them in 20th 'with only the most optimistic supporters predicting anything but struggle.'

However, there has been something of a sea change in attitudes since the win over Sheffield Wednesday. In part, however, this reflects the media tendency to salivate over gritty northern teams, perhaps to show that they do not have a metropolitan bias. In the earlier part of last season it was draw specialists Huddersfield before they were dealt with at The Valley. Since then the Massives have been overrated so too much is being read into the Palace victory over them. Suddenly, Palace are seen as contenders for a play off place.

Keeper Speroni is one of Palace's better players and he made a couple of excellent saves to keep Wednesday out in the first half. In defence, Darcy Blake offered a solid performance on his home debut. Ex-Ipswich man Damien Delaney made a solid debut and settled in seamlessly. Peter Ramage offered an assured display at the heart of the Palace defence. However, Jonathan Parr was given a torrid time by Antonio and was skinned a number of times.

Owen Garvan offered a great delivery and was neat and tidy in possession. Jedinak was fierce in the tackle and protected his defence well. Moritz looks like a real find for Palace. He shows real talent on the ball and was a menace going forward against the Massives. Zaha has been seen as a transfer target for a Premiership club for some time.

Bolasie was always a threat in possession and Glenn Murray held the ball up well and scored two good goals.

Palace are no pushover and the most likely result in my view is a draw. However, I take personal heart from the fact that Leamington beat deadly rivals Stourbridge 2-1 last night in a FA Cup replay away from home. I would be more than satisfied with a last minute goal delivering victory on Friday.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Palace captain out for another month

Crystal Palace captain Paddy McCarthy is out for another month with a groin problem. He has not played this season: McCarthy

Palace's Brazilian midfielder Andre Moritz has revealed that he is paid 20 per cent of what he got in Turkey by the Glaziers, but wanted to play for a club where he could be a champion: Moritz

Monday 10 September 2012

Are Palace the new Reading?

This is the question posed in The Football League Paper yesterday. Reading had a poor start to the season, but went on to win the championship and this is seen as a blueprint for Palace.

The logic runs like this. Sheffield Wednesday are a massive club, lauded by football journalists for their incredible feat of finishing second in League 1 last season. Their place is as good as booked in the Premiership next season. Hence, if Palace beat them, they must also be in contention.

It's a funny world, football journalism. There are always fads and fashions. In the early part of last season it was all about Spurs being poised to win the Premiership title. At the start of this season it was all about dissing Arsenal. Now the searchlight is on Liverpool. And so it goes on.

Cort injured

It is being reported that Leon Cort is injured. Apparently he didn't join Guyana for their double header with El Salvador.

It could just be a niggle which wouldn't be helped by long flights. There were hints of hamstring trouble earlier. Should he be unavailable, given that Matt Taylor is injured, it would then be a case of step forward Dorian Dervite.

For how an outsider writes a summary history of Charlton go here: Charlton

One time Addick Hermann Hreidarsson has offer to play for former club Portsmouth for nothing. The Herminator is a free agent after leaving Coventry City at the end of last season.

Sunday 9 September 2012

The career of Matt Taylor

An article here reviewing the somewhat unorthodox career of Matt Taylor. Not sure what I think of the young journo's writing style: Taylor

Taylor is, of course, on the fringe of the team this year and had the misfortune to pick up an injury before the game at Hull.

Elsewhere, Leon Clarke scored Scunthorpe's only goal as they drew 1-1 with the smaller of the two Sheffield teams.

Crystal Palace appear to have given up on a move away from Selhurst Park, but are in discussions with Sainsbury's about how the ground might be developed. This would include moving the away fans: Palace

Friday 7 September 2012

Leon Clarke out on loan

Leon Clarke is to join Scunthorpe on a one month loan: Clarke

Meanwhile, Doug Freedman is insisting that Palace are particularly good at derbies: Palace

Palace players up for win

Palace players see an analogy between their massive victory over Sheffield Wednesday and their hopes of a win at Charlton. Both teams, they think, are used to winning until they come up against the mighty Palace: Palace

It seems an age now since the match with Hull, but I am already getting excited about the Palace fixture. Meanwhile, I went to watch a game of real tennis yesterday, Leamington having one of just 25 courts in the country, this one being built in 1846 before lawn tennis was (allegedly) invented at the Manor Hotel in the town. There are actually 50 real tennis professionals in the UK.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Palace miss out on Lita

With the loan window re-opening this weekend, Crystal Palace targeted Swansea City Leroy Lita as they seek to improve their ability to score goals ahead of next week's clash with Charlton: Lita

However, Lita thought better of joining the Glaziers and has signed a three month deal at Birmingham City. Lita was on loan with Charlton in March and the first half of April 2008 and the inoculation against Palace he received then may still be working.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Win an evening with Nigel and Nigella

The News Shopper may be offering you a chance to win a penalty shootout competition at next week's Charlton v. Palace match Shootout but only we can offer you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend an evening with Palace fans Nigel and Nigella at their bijou home in Beckenham.

Nigel, who has made his way up through the ranks of the Inland Revenue, decided to open up his home for hospitality as he had heard many stories about Charlton fans and wanted the opportunity to observe one at close quarters. ‘Of course, we could have gone to the monkey house at the zoo, he quipped.

South-Eastern trains have generously offered our competition winners two return tickets from any of their stations to Beckenham. At the station you will be met by a limousine supplied by New Cross Minicabs (choice of Toyota Aygo or Nissan Micra) and conveyed to the home of Nigel and Nigella while the driver expounds the view that ‘Millwall gotta be the top club in South London, innit?’

Nigel will greet you with the comment, ‘I see you haven’t brought your caravan with you,’ laughing uproariously at his own joke.

As an ice breaker, he will invite you to sit on the imitation leather sofa while he shows you his collection of Palace memorabilia. His prized item is a vessel from the Roman period which was dug up when Selhurst Park was being re-turfed. This has led Nigel to the view that Selhurst Park’s history as an arena of excellence started with Roman gladiators.

Unfortunately, he has been unable to translate the Latin inscription on the vessel which reads ‘Iti sapis spotan dat inoneat hat.’

While Nigella microwaves the meal deal from Sainsbury’s, Nigel will escort you to the back garden, having served you a glass of Nigella’s sharp tasting golden coloured aperitif which she has named ‘Essence of Crystal’. Son Eric will then demonstrate keep uppies dressed in full Palace kit. Daughter Erica will then use the trampoline which fills most of the garden to demonstrate her gymnastic skills whilst giving the finger.

After a hearty meal in which Nigel will talk at length about his belief in a Palace victory at The Valley and the inevitability of Palace finishing above Charlton in the table. Over coffee you will have the chance to watch his DVD of ‘Great Moments in Palace’s History’. Mercifully, this is very short.

Please note that you have to make your own way back to Beckenham Station. Having ‘imbibed’, Nigel will be unable to drive you.

In order to win this prize, you have to answer the following questions:

1. What burnt down in 1936?

2. Who were ‘The Team of the Eighties’?

3. Why are Palace sometimes referred to as the Glaziers?

4. At which London football ground can you get Nectar points?

5. (Tie breaker) Write a sentence celebrating Croydon, e.g., ‘Croydon, Gateway to the South, epitomises sophisticated urban living.’

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Centenary of changed rules for keepers

Charlton legend Sam Bartram had the reputation of being a flamboyant keeper. It may have cost him a place in the England team. In The Goalkeeper's History of Britain Peter Chapman writes, 'He was condemned as being too sensational and for playing to the gallery. His bravery in the way he threw himself at forwards' feet earned him the criticism of being "a danger to the game"'.

As well as taking the occasional penalty, part of Bartram's game was sometimes to dribble the ball up field. He would have had even more scope to play out of the goal if it had not been for a rule change affecting goalkeepers. The centenary of that rule change occurs this year.

Up to 1912 the keeper had been permitted to handle the ball in his own half of the field. One journalist proclaimed that ending this practice ‘would put an end to the gallery methods in taking a canter up the field, bouncing the ball on the ground. In future the goalkeeper would have to “stay at home”’.

Another journalist argued, ‘Many people have long held the view that goalkeepers are too pampered by the laws, and some of the sarcastic critics have suggested that the goalkeepers should be packed in cotton wool and put in a glass case. Personally, I fully agree with the protective laws that give the last defender a reasonable chance of escaping injury when making a daring save in defence of his goal.’ Remember that at this time keepers could be shoulder charged, providing their assailant kept both feet on the ground.

Some goalkeepers were, however, prone to play to the gallery and ‘have strained the patience of football followers by indulging in methods of play that are to say the least undignified and unnecessary. The goalkeeper who hugs the ball instead of promptly clearing it is asking for trouble, and generally gets it in the shape of hard knocks.’

Some keepers had ‘made a farce’ of the existing rule. ‘The sound, common sense goalkeepers need not be reminded that their duties lie inside the penalty area, and monkeying about a distance twenty yards from the goal line is not conducive to good goalkeeping.’

But how would the rule change be handled? Would referees be consistent? The view was taken that ‘common sense will impel the referee to grant full power to the kicker when a goalkeeper handles the ball outside the area Possibly our legislators might be inclined to treat the goalkeeper’s lapses from law in the mildest fashion, but until a pronouncement is made on the point, we shall probably have different awards for the same offences, and this is not desirable, nor is it satisfactory to either players, referees or spectators.’

However, the writer had considerable faith in the good sense of referees (who in those days wore blazers to show they were good chaps): ‘Referees who are worth their salt and who desire to get as near perfection in their work as possible will want to give the correct decision when they are called on to deal with a case.’

They would certainly need to do so if they came across the leading keeper of the era, Billy ‘Fatty’ Foulke. Six feet tall, Foulke weighed over 20 stone. He intimidated opponents and officials alike. If a decision did not go his way, he would storm after referees and hammer on their dressing room doors.

Peter Chapman thinks that in 'Bartram the selectors may have noticed something like the ghosr of "Fatty" Foulke looming from the grave. [Bartram was tall but not obese]. [Frank] Swift they had gone along with as an exception to the desirable rule. To have sanctioned a second showman would have risked established tradition. Protective of the nation's sterner values. Bartram was where they drew the line.'

Monday 3 September 2012

Two ex Charlton players in Anfield duel

Two former Charlton players featured in yesterday's game between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield: Carl Jenkinson and Jonjo Shelvey.

Shelvey came on as a substitute in the 67th minute and, according to The Times 'made a reasonable impact', earning a score of 6. The most surprising news about Shelvey, however, is that he could be about to don the kilt after discovering that his grandmother came from Edinburgh: Shelvey

Jenkinson also got a 6 for his efforts, but is estimated to have won 70 per cent of his defensive duels.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Charlton lose 2-1

Charlton suffered their first league defeat of the season this afternoon going down 2-1 to a Nottingham Forest side who showed themselves to be superior on the day. Possession was just 53-47 in the home side's favour and Charlton had seven corners to six. However, their downfall was just one shot on target.

Some have been arguing that Chris Powell got the formation wrong, but it may well be that any combination would have not dealt with Andy Reid bossing the game from midfield. In contrast those there thought that Jackson and Pritchard were out of their depth. The one change in the Charlton line up was Jordan Cook replacing the absent Dale Stephens.

Guedioura almost netted after eight minutes but his shot from inside the area hit the crossbar. Forest went ahead on 17 minutes and there are different views about whether Hamer could have dealt with the ball better. McGugan was credited with the goal when his free-kick from wide on the left touchline was missed by Hamer and sneaked inside the post without a touch from anyone inside the crowded penalty box.

It might have been 2-0 straight away had Blackstock done better with his header from 12 yards out. Simon Cox brought a solid save from Hamer just before half-time as Forest went into the break only one goal ahead, but leading comfortably.

The Addicks did make more of a game of it in the second half. Camp was called into action early in the second half to keep out an effort from Cook, which he needed two attempts at grasping. It looked like game over when Forest scored their second on 75 minutes. Charlton got a late reply, and although it was an own goal by keeper Camp, it was effectively created by Ricardo Fuller on 88 minutes after his header hit the post. Fuller had replaced Wright-Phillips on 81 minutes. With six minutes added on, the last few minutes were nervous ones for the home side, particularly given that rivals Derby defeated Watford 5-1.

Next opponents Crystal Palace secured their first points of the season with a massive 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday. Earlier, Millwall had beaten Boro at home.

Charlton are now 15th in the table, which is the area many think they will be in at the end of the season, while Forest leap to 3rd. Despite their win Palace are still in the relegation zone at 23rd.

Forest make deadline day loans

Nottingham Forest have made two deadline day loans. Striker Billy Sharp has been brought in from Southampton and midfielder James Coppinger from Doncaster. Both players were at Doncaster when Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll managed there: Forest

Both players will be available for the match against Charlton this afternoon. Given that Forest were already known for the sharpness of their attack, this poses some tactical dilemmas for Chris Powell. Should he play cautiously and defensively or should he try to exploit apparent defensive weaknesses? I would expect him to go for a 4-4-2 and try to match Forest, but they may well be too strong for the Addicks.