Thursday 29 November 2012

Spanners Away

Let's hope that Stuwall has sorted his ticket this time......

After the disaster that was the Middlesbrough game we’d have all happily “ settled “ for a return of 13 points from the next 5 games. However, having failed to beat 10 men Huddersfield and a somewhat lacklustre performance against Peterborough one can feel a little deflated. Realistically given all the injuries one shouldn’t dwell on that.

All in all it’s been a bl**dy good effort from all concerned and the view really ought to be that we’ve turned a corner. We have now found our feet at this level and are, as has been shown, capable of beating anyone……..

The ellipses are at the end of that sentence because should we win on Saturday against that lot then that statement will be complete and entirely correct. Typically we don’t do well in that den of iniquity and given that they’ve been on an even better run than us would suggest there’s not a worse time to play them.

Critically missing a natural left back, Morrison and Fuller won’t help in that equation either. Yet, and yet, this is football, this is Charlton and despite all the set backs, let downs etc. occasionally our team does something rather splendid and makes you really, really proud. Could it happen this weekend ?

Let’s hope it does. If we lose, we’ll not be too downhearted. We need only remind ourselves of those less fortunate than ourselves…….it won’t be too difficult. We could be supporting a club with a pitiful average gate that only rises above mediocrity when we play them. We could be watching our team play in one of the worst stadiums known to man. We could be amongst a bunch of fans for whom erudite means a type of glue.    

What of the Millwall team then ? Don’t know really and not interested to be honest. I know some bloke named Racon went there and occasionally sits on the bench. Another chap called N’Guessan wants away to sunnier climes, aside from that I’m not aware.

I’d go for a team of :- Hamer, Solly, Dervite, Cort, Seabourne, Kerkar, Frimpong, Pritchard, Green, Haynes and Yann. That’s assuming all are fit. I suspect that Sir Chris will go for :- Hamer, Solly, Dervite, Cort, Seabourne, Kerkar, Frimpong, Jackson, Pritchard, Hulse and Yann

It will be a hot atmosphere that’s for sure and one hopes that we can keep all eleven on the pitch but I’d have concerns that Yann and Frimpong might go at some stage, I hope not of course.

Lets’ hope our boys can do it and put up a good fight and that we can come away from that place with something to show for it. Come on lads, you can do it !

Come On You Reds !  

Tricky Riccy !

Fantastic Fuller Finish

A sublime goal from Ricardo Fuller set up a rather laboured win for the Addicks against the Posh.

Peterborough didn't come to the Valley to sit back and defend on Tuesday. They gave it a decent go especially when one considers their position. Their oft dreadful passing and decision making belied any air of positivity and confidence though. Their keeper in particular was guilty of some shocking kicks.

Tubby Tomlin and Boyd stood out for them. Tomlin forced Hamer into a full length save in the second half amidst some nice touches of skill. Boyd's control and passing was top drawer.

We were fortunate to a large extent that the Posh didn't score as they could easily have done so on occasion.

Last season the lack of injuries and suspensions served us well and with Sir Chris being able to filed a regular starting eleven that continuity paid dividends. This term of course it is very different and it's clear for all to see.

Our defending at short corners for instance was woeful on a couple of occasions. Only one player going out to it and it could have cost us dear, if repeated on Saturday it almost certainly will. One can only assume that this wasn't down to a lack on concentration more that it was a direct result of changing personnel and the roles associated with them.

Seabourne looked every bit a centre-back playing at full back. None of which bodes well for Saturday.

It was great to see Yann back for the full ninety and I think he'll serve us well on Saturday as I believe it is a game tailor-made for him.

What a goal from Fuller, a piece of quality and class. Only he in our team can score a goal like that. With Sir Chris again showing apparent blindness to the availability of his subs it was probably the only way we were going to break the deadlock.

I thought the boss had turned the corner on his use of subs but I fear not. Dilly-dally like that on Saturday and we'll pay the price.

Naturally we were all pleased to see Yann score. What a guy !

The loss of Morrison and it would seem Fuller are massive blows as we attempt to secure a rare away victory at the Toolbox.

Monday 26 November 2012

Tubby Tomlin

One to look out for - Lee Tomlin, the Peterborough " wide " man has an appetite for goals, oh and pies apparently !

Lardy Lee came to my attention during the recent televised Posh v Blackburn game. Surprisingly he lasted the full ninety and even managed to score a goal late on. Mind you he lasted the distance mainly because he didn't exactly run himself into the ground.

I'm aware that telly can make you look larger than you really are ( Colin Baker is a slip of a thing really ! ) but it will be interesting to see if our full-blown friend is as large as he appeared. Overweight or not he scored again on Saturday and appears to on something of a hot streak. Perhaps we can wave bag of sweets in his direction to distract him.

I just looked up the word digress in the dictionary........Stewart Francis was very good last night in case you were wondering. The third time I've seen him now and his one-liners are as good as ever. This latest tour is nearly over but buy the dvd if you can.

Where was I ? Tomorrow night then and the Posh are on a poor run and of course there's no chance of us helping to bring that to an end is there ? No siree, we've no history in that respect have we and after all we're sweeping all before us at home !

Darren is under pressure and Posh chairman Darragh must be given Fergie's position some thought again having sacked him once before of course.

What of our boys then ? Please God Sir Chris will put players in their best positions. Kerkar should have played wide left on Saturday and there was no reason that I can see why Skip couldn't have played left back. Anyhow, hopefully Seabourne will be fit. If so, then I suspect that the immovable object that is Johnnie will be left midfield if the boss opts to play Stephens and Manny in central midfield. That would be unfair on Kerkar in my view but Sir Chris doesn't like to leave Skip out does he ?

Stephens still doesn't do it for me and I'd happily see Pritchard in the middle with Manny in the same way I'd rather see Green on the right than Bradley P.

Whoever is fit or otherwise I'd definitely go for Yann to start up front tomorrow. His cameo on Saturday reminded us of what we've been missing and he looked like a man on a mission, the mission being to make up for lost time. I also think Yann is the man for The Toolbox, he'll relish playing there !

We really can't afford not to win this one. Not least ahead of Saturday's game looming large on the horizon. We want to go into that full of confidence to give ourselves the best chance of beating them.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 25 November 2012

A Frustrating Day

A succession of these suitcases got in the way of most folk yesterday as they so often do. To get the same effect I'm considering dragging around a dead dog on a lead on my next visit to the Metropolis ! Added to the outcome of the game, it made for a very frustrating day !

Another testing afternoon at the Valley yesterday as we again failed to be positive let alone beat a team down to 10 men for so long. Numerous options were open to Sir Chris and at a minimum that should have seen Skip move to left back with Kerkar getting further forward and Yann coming on to replace a tiring Ricardo a lot earlier than he did. All that side from going to 3 at the back........we don't need 4 defenders against one attacker.

Yet again my not getting to away games is costing me as I though Stephens gave another display of poor and mostly sideways passing. I don't get it cos he gets rave reviews outside the Valley.

Hey Ho ! Let's look at the bright side. Manny Frimpong ! How good was he ? Long may he continue to put on performances like that. Strong, decisive and able to pass forward, his will be the first name on the team sheet whilst he's here.

I thought we passed the ball quickly and well yesterday with Fuller putting on a very intelligent and competent display. With Frimpong things look very promising. If only we'd taken one of the good chances on offer especially the one Hulse spurned at the end when he headed safely into the arms of Smithies....a yard either side and we'd have won.

I quite fancied a beer at half time yesterday but didn't have time to have one. On reflection I should have followed the example of a Scandinavian gentleman near me who returned to his seat with a full pint that he did little to hide ! He was clearly oblivious to the fact he shouldn't have it and I advised him to keep it well hidden which he did inside his belly soon after !

Never mind four games unbeaten and a win on Tuesday would make thing look a tad brighter.

In need of a laugh I'm off to see Stewart Francis tonight at the excellent Stables Theatre in Milton Keynes.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Anything Ted can do.........

I can do better. For the second week running we play against a team which can count an ex-PM as a fan like his old adversary, Ted Heath, who was a Burnley fan apparently. Who can forget those heated exchanges across the dispatch box citing the merits of both the Clarets and the Terriers ? Nah, me neither !

Yes, more well known for his skill as a chat show host ( snigger, snigger ) Harold was indeed a fan of the Town. A tad more plausible than Ted being a Burnley supporter one feels as Harold might have said at the Amex conference !

This Saturday's fixture last season saw us end the " impressive run " Huddersfield had achieved under Lee Clarke. Umpteen games unbeaten..........with plenty of draws. Had there been more wins then they might have secured promotion but that was ultimately achieved under current boss, Simon Grayson.

For the Terriers, Jermaine Beckford may return from injury but James Vaughan is likely to miss out. Obviously it'd be better for us if they both miss. Simon Church got a late tap-in consolation last week against Brighton and one imagines he'll start.

I doubt we'll see Adam Hammill, the winger on-loan midfielder from Wolves, he's just avoided going to jail after being found guilty of assaulting two female paramedics. Apparently he didn't realise they were paramedics as he was paralytic !

What of the Addicks then ? Well Sir Chris has a few selection headaches now and it's a situation that I'm pleased to say won't get any easier as the injured start to make their return. SCP may be aided though to some extent by suspensions as Ketts alluded to the other day. With a few players on 4 yellows already one more will bring about a one match ban thus giving an opportunity to someone else. As we've seen already this season, they are likely to grab it !

Sadly Jonnson didn't enjoy the best of debuts last week which is somewhat understandable as he probably needs to get up to match fitness and speed. One would imagine that the Boss will remain loyal to Jackson and that Stephens will return. Therefore, unless an injury or illness occurs to another player then it's unlikely that Frimpong will make his debut on Saturday although one imagines he'll be on the bench.

Sir Chris has to somehow fit two of Fuller, Hulse and Haynes into what you'd have thought be a two man attack. Not easy. I can't see Haynes being dropped and Hulse has acquitted himself well of late so again it's hard to see past Fuller on the bench as a result.

Elsewhere, i.e. defence will be pretty much as you'd expect.......Solly, Morrison, Cort and Seabourne.

It's lovely that SCP has these " problems " and he'll be earning his corn as he attempts to keep the squad happy as much as one would like to believe that all players might view continued success for the team of more importance than their own wellbeing.

Hopefully, we'll see a good game and it'll be a cracking atmosphere on Saturday. I missed the Cardiff match but it sounded like The Valley atmosphere was returning to how it used be in those early days upon our return to it. At that time one really valued what we might have lost and as we progressed under Curbs there was a special togetherness that has been lost in recent years. Perhaps we really are getting our Charlton back !

Time to start really turning things around home and two home wins in a week would set us up nicely for the trip to our neighbours.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 18 November 2012

14 Days

it's nearly a fortnight !
And they say a week is a long time in politics ! Casting your mind back to how you felt after the Boro game and it seems almost a lifetime away. The whole outlook has changed and very much for the better. Just a look at the league table is enough to confirm that.
It goes a lot further than just that of course. I had genuine fears for Sir Chris's position and wondered if a couple more defeats might see the end of his tenure. Not something that I want to see. As I said SCP has made mistakes but is too intelligent not to learn from them. The last 3 games have shown that clearly he has. I worried about the reaction of those in charge of our club with SCP being a slightly more isolated figure following recent departures.
Those fixtures have also demonstrated that whatever eleven players he sends out onto the pitch, he'll get the most out of them. His man-management skills have been acknowledged before but I believe they've been in evidence more than ever in recent weeks.
The gaffer has, of late, shown that he is not afraid to ring the changes and his use of subs has markedly improved too. He has selected some teams that have raised my eyebrows to almost Roger Moore levels and yet more often than not they've come up with the goods.
Sir Chris has also revealed a more hard-nosed approach as indicated yesterday when Eggert was removed early in the second half. Not only a necessary change by the sounds of it but a sound tactical one too.
We all knew that the Championship is a much stronger one than that which we left a few years ago. We all knew that for most of our side who'd not played at this level it was going to be a big step up. Now it seems that the managment and players are adjusting to it and starting to acquit themselves admirably.
If Sir Chris carries on like this he might become something of a Charlton legend ! ;) We can now look forward to the upcoming games with Huddersfield and Peterborough with a lot more relish than we did as we departed the Valley on 3rd November.
A fine performance again yesterday from the lads and they obviously dug deep to get the result. It does seem as if someone needs to take over from Skip for penalty duties. I'm really pleased for Haynes who's on a hot streak at the moment. Let's hope he can stay free from injury. Hulse has shown his importnace to the team and put in some good perfomances.
With the prospect of the injured players starting to return soon then the competition for places intensifies which is all for the better of course.
Anyone can beat anyone in this league as we've seen but we must surely go into the next two home games with great confidence. Hopefully that will set us up nicely for the game against those folk who don't care about us but will no doubt double their usual attendance to come and see. 

Thursday 15 November 2012

Who'd Have Thought It ?

T' Ted Heath, sans flat cap, a famous Burnley fan apparently. His lad, Adrian, played for the Clarets in the early 90's.

Well I never, how about that ! Seems old Ted was a Burnley fan, silly me should have guessed by the northern working class accent and with his constituency being so close Turf Moor 'n' all. 

Seems Anna Ford is too, again the strong Lancashire accent is a dead giveaway ! We all know about Alistair Campbell ( obnoxious bu**er ) and John Kettley of course

Since I'm doing interesting facts, no really........for me this is interesting let's be honest ! It appears that Burnley have been football league champions twice They and won the FA Cup once as do all quality teams. They are one of only three sides to have won all top four professional divisions of English football. PNE and Wolves being the other two.

The Clarets also reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1961 and not a lot of people know that ! Maybe they did but it's not the Anglo-Italian cup is it ? 

New manager Sean Dyche has just replaced one-time Charlton prospect Eddie Howe. The former Watford manager has a bit to prove and I think he will in time. He wasn't well treated by the Watford owners who somewhat foolishly have invested in all things Italian........well not all things perhaps......they're not fu**ing nuts !

Charlie Austin is banging the goals in for them and will be their main threat. Hopefully Morrison and a returning Cort will keep him and the rest of the Clarets quiet.

Sunday's win at Bristol City may have escaped the attention of Radio 5 Live where it didn't get a mention on their sports bulletins nor the Premiership obsessed 606........yes, of course Alan Green you want to hear from fans of all divisions just so long as they're in the top flight and haven't been at the game or perhaps ever visited the ground of the team they profess to love. 

" We've got John from Cornwall on the line, come in John ". 
" Yeah, hello Alan er I'm a first time caller and Man U fan..." 
" Welcome John and hey, don't be nervous, you can't be a bigger tit than me ! ". 
" I couldn't get to Old Trafford today........."

Sir Chris and the lads have been terrific in the last two games and what a response following the misery that most of us felt after the Boro game. SCP is learning fast and is now starting to make more right decisions than wrong. Whether he's had some good advice from some quarters is or just had a good think on his own is not clear, however, the boy's doing good !

I'd love to see Fuller start on Saturday but am guessing the Boss will stick with the majority of those that have served him so well over the last two fixtures and you can't blame him. It'll be a tough game but if we can maintain our drive and commitment of recent times then maybe we can come away with something. A draw would be good and all 3 points would be even better of course.

Good luck and well done to all those going to cheers the boys on. Have a great day and make sure you look out for some more of those closet celeb Burnley fans !

Come On You Reds !

Thursday 8 November 2012

Ashton Gate

There it be ! The west country scandal !

I've been to Ashton Gate once, for an FA cup tie in 1994 I believe. As I recall it was 1-1 draw with Mark Robson ? scoring a lateish equaliser after which he got booked for over celebrating with us fans. We then won the midweek replay at home and went onto to play Man Utd away in the quarter-finals I think. Wow ! What a day that was !

My other recollection of that day at the Gate was the extremely unpleasant atmosphere and several coins and other objects being thrown in our direction. I made a sharp exit at the end as I could what was brewing and I think there a spot of bother after.    

I believe we are playing on Sunday due to Rovers being at home. Seems a lot of nonsense to me and how it couldn't have been sorted I don't know. 

A quiet Saturday then and we can relax for a while watching how the rest of the league gets on. 

For the first time in some while and the pressure's more on the home side than ourselves especially following Tuesday's heroics ( I've watched the goals this evening....... 5 times ! I love it ! ).

City have lost their last 6 in a run that has naturally seen them slide down the table. Given our wonderful result against Cardiff we should be anticipating a win and yet............. Come on this is Charlton so we know it won't be that straight forward.

Sam Baldock formerly of the MK Dons is their main man. Hopefully we can keep him quiet.

Who knows what side Sir Chris will put out given the current trend for injuries ! Someone will no doubt burn their nipple on baby milk to rule themselves out of the game.

Whatever the side Sir Chris we trust especially if he can deliver his half-time teamtalk BEFORE the game !

As ever I shall be studiously avoiding all media contact until 5 mins to go when I shall endeavour to discover how we're doing.

Best wishes for a good day out to those that are going and I hope your efforts are duly rewarded with 3 points, a good game and decent weather. 

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 7 November 2012

One Over The Eight

How I feel, between a rock and a hard place !

Not had the call today, it'll probably be tomorrow. Sir Chris will ring and offer me a king's ransom to stay away for the rest of the season !

After Saturday's game I pretty confident few would have forecast last night's shenanigans ! I doubt anyone would even if we'd been on the most amazing home run ever ! A prior commitment prevented me from going and I would have been a bit miffed whoever it was but the league leaders ? At 2-0 behind I didn't feel so bad but then.......!!!

To say I'm a bit gutted to have missed it is an understatement. Usually I don't follow our games at all when I'm not there, I just check on the team before kick off and then check on how things are going about 5 mins before the final whistle.

Yesterday was different ( you can say that again ! ). I was aware that we were two down and at that point decided enough was enough and gave up on it. My thoughts turned to wondering how many we'd lose by and how Sir Chris must have been feeling. 

Things changed at about 9.30pm when I got a text from my elder lad asking if I knew what the score was. Go on I said, surprise me ! Well I sure wasn't expecting 5 -2 ! Still time for us to mess it up ( or words to that effect ! ) I texted back.

Low and behold it became 5-3 and 5-4. Bother ( again, words to that effect ) I thought, we're not going to win this one. How wrong I was ! My disappointment at not being there will stay with me forever as probably will my feelings of delight for Sir Chris and the boys.........mostly for SCP though. I'm so made up for him. 

His half-time talks must be the stuff of legend. Perhaps we can declare war on someone just so that the whole country can benefit from the stirring speeches that he clearly makes. Move over Winston, there's a new kid in town !!

As I say, I feel sick to have missed what was clearly an incredible game but am so, so happy for our Boss. Well done to one and all !

I've read details of what happened and heard accounts but not seen the goals. I'm looking forward to that.

Against the backdrop of a poor home record and an horrific injury list this was a truly wonderful backs to the wall effort.........FANTASTIC !!!

I'm especially pleased to hear of the support for Sir Chris even at two down. He needed that and it nearly brings a tear to the eye just thinking about it. Well done folks !

I'm eagerly anticipating our next home game, unless I get that call from Sir Chris of course !!!

Monday 5 November 2012

Keeping The Faith

My favourite Chris Powell photo

After a 12 hour working day this is a mercifully short post you'll be pleased to learn.

A prior commitment means that I'm unable to be there tomorrow immediately giving rise to the prospect of a win !

As we know Cardiff are flying high and we, er aren't !  Injuries have damaged us this season and it seems it's payback time for the relatively injury-free season we enjoyed last term.

I know we should all be wanting a win and I'm no different but I do feel that a draw would go some way to restoring fragile confidence following Saturday and we could look ahead to the upcoming games with a tad more enthusiasm.

Now is not the time to lose faith in Sir Chris. He has shown that his is developing as a manager and he will continue to improve. That doesn't mean he is beyond criticism and regular readers will know I've been quick to highlight what I think have been some odd decisions and basic errors this term. 

However, there's an eerie silence from above and I'm not sure that SCP has a close working relationship, if any at all, with the owners. He needs us to show we're right behind him and the team. So make sure you give him and them an extra cheer tomorrow. 

Whatever the result, stay fully supportive of Sir Chris as he's the man for the job. If he's given the two or three players we clearly need then he'll steer us into calmer waters I'm sure.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 4 November 2012

Curiouser & Curiouser

Not Banksy's finest hour !

With injury to Evina Sir Chris was forced to make at least one change to the starting eleven of the previous two games. In addition, he decided to revert to 4-4-2 and brought back BWP to start alongside Hulse.

All went reasonably well in the first half. There was a near miss with a header inside the first two minutes from the diminutive Pritchard that went just over. 

BWP was finding it hard to stay on his feet and made himself look a bit daft after tumbling with no one around him and claiming a foul. I'm not sure if the invisible man was cautioned for that or not.

Things were pretty even and then we took the lead following a superb through ball from Pritchard and sublime finish from Hulse.

The ref awarded Boro a freekick shortly after when I felt we should have given it to us. Sadly, Woodgate was given the freedom of the Valley to head home.

Things remained pretty even with Cort somehow failing to head in at the far post and Jackson trying a shot from range that was, well er, not very good !

At the break the Addicks could be reasonably satisfied with their work. 

Wilson picked up an injury just before the break and it was pretty clear that he wasn't going to return after. The fans pondered over who would replace him as we sipped our half-time Bovrils.  Green would be the obvious choice although Haynes or Cook could equally be given consideration. It was to some astonishment then that Stephens came out to replace Lawrie and that, for me our man of the match so far, Pritchard was moved out right midfield.

Perhaps I missed something. Wasn't Bradley P snapping at their heels, winning tackles and playing some good passes such as the one that set up Hulse for the goal ? Further, didn't I see Pritchard play wide right recently and he didn't look very effective there ?

Stephens sprayed the ball left and right and failed to find any penetrating passes during the second period ( how much did Villa offer ? ). A very rare mistake from Morrison gifted Boro the second and a bizarre goal-kick from Steele somehow eluded most players to secure their third and the three points.

BWP and Cort were withdrawn to be replaced by Haynes and Cook. Try as they might they couldn't get The Addicks back in it.

The substitutions and formation changes were again odd. Cort and Morrison have been a solid partnership for some months and now it was being split up with Dervite going into a back three. Huh ?

Our formation seemingly changed about 3 times in ten minutes as we increasingly looked all at sea. No wonder, as few seemed to know their role. A fourth followed and it could have been worse. 

I'm afraid I'd struggle to tell what Jackson did yesterday yet he got the full ninety. You've got to ask should he be in the side ? He's a top bloke who did well for us last year but he's not doing it now. I wish I could tell you that as skipper he geed up those around him but sadly not. I'd pass it back to Morrison if I were Sir Chris.

The ref wasn't the worst we've seen but he was far removed from the best. His booking of Pritchard was bizarre coming as it did when he awarded us a throw-in. Bradley wasn't booked for answering back so it very odd indeed.

The upcoming visit of Cardiff couldn't really come at a worse time. We really need to up our game for that. Clearly we need to get a midfielder in as Razak would have been great yesterday, he was really missed. Haynes should probably be given an opportunity if we're playing two up front. 

The sooner Fuller returns the better, we very much need the guy. 

The pressure is mounting on Sir Chris. I've no wish to see him go and want us to keep him no matter what. However, given the recent departures he is an increasingly isolated figure who needs all the support he can get.

As I've said before I'm not sure what advice SCP is getting from his management team that are alongside him. He might benefit from getting Paul Hart on the bench and receiving some words of wisdom from him. 

Things don't look great at the moment but we have a decent squad that given a little strengthening and the right set up can secure wins in this division as has been proven. More importantly Sir Chris continues to learn, we need to keep on believing in him and hope that seeks wise counsel ( although not of the Dennis variety ).  

Friday 2 November 2012

Boro At Home

Hilarious image to accompany today's witty headline

The Addicks now face two tough home games in the space of 4 days. Probably the two toughest consecutive home fixtures in fact. Can we rise to the challenge ? On the evidence of the last two away matches, then the answer has to be, yes.

Boro are on a very good run as one would expect with a club that has suffered only one defeat and one draw in the last 9 games. However, we should not be totally pessimistic despite our poor home form. Boro are not prolific scorers having garnered 21 goals from 13 matches. In addition, the are more susceptible on the road with 3 defeats against 3 wins away. They have in fact conceded more goals than us too.

Whilst we haven't been knocking them in from all over the park our defence has been sound. Looking at our form over the last 7 league games and we've won 2, drawn 3 and lost 2. All this would seem to suggest that tomorrow's encounter will be a close one decided by no more than one or two goals.

Our failure to secure wins at home to the likes of Watford, Barnsley and Blackburn ( in my view they were there for the taking that day ) means that one of the upcoming two matches is a must win.

My belief is that at home we should be positive and play with 2 up front. That is with the majority of teams, however, I feel that Boro and Cardiff will look to attack more than most. Therefore, I believe that we should stick with the team and formation that has served us so well away recently.

Fortunately, we may be spared Ishmael Miller tomorrow, he could really hurt us. However, another who could also do so, Lukas Jutkiewicz may well return from injury. The other goalscoring threat comes in the shape of Scott MacDonald, a player who plundered quite a few goals when plying his trade in Scotland.

Tony Mowbray may appear something of a dour and uninspiring manager but he's obviously doing something right and has a decent track record. Being an ex-Boro player also helps as we know in our case with Sir Chris.

Nicky Bailey will, of course, be back at the Valley. I'm sure we all remember when last here he put a few million pounds over the bar.........sadly not in the way we'd have liked ! I've no qualms with him, he always gave it everything for us and I don't share the view that he was greedy when he left. He was at an important stage of his career and was clearly capable of playing at this level. 

I recall the Southend fans at the Valley giving him grief accusing him of leaving them only for the dosh and I felt it was very small minded of them. In any case as is usually the case it only served to make him try harder !

Nicky is likely to start on the bench tomorrow but will once again tread the Valley turf at some stage I'm sure. I hope that he gets a good reception.

Our team is unlikely to be changed with the usual suspects on the bench. We are missing Fuller although I know Hulse has given it his all of late. He is a good player getting up to match speed and good for him. I hope he can get a goal soon.

Another player who needs a goal is BWP. A cameo from him capped with a goal would help him enormously.

We will miss Razak and are now in need of another midfielder as we look thin on the ground in that area. I hope we can secure someone suitable soon.

It's the 20th anniversary of Red, White and Black tomorrow with some associated dignitaries making an appearance. Given the goings on elsewhere recently it'll be good give a cheer to our own campaign and one that unlike some of the Prem clubs, we do more than pay lip-service too. It's another one of the many reasons why you're proud to be a Charlton fan.

Away from the Valley, I saw sad too see that Danny Baker has been sacked by Radio London. Total nonsense and done in a classless way by the BBC at a time when their stock is at its lowest. I do hope that Radio 5 don't follow suit even if Danny decides to stay. 

Millwall fan he may be but he is a wonderful gift to radio and I shouldn't be too wound up by the occasional digs at ourselves. After all, we too have a go at them and I feel his genuine dislike, rather like us, is more reserved for the Nigels.

Here's to a good game tomorrow and three home points at last !

Come On You Reds !