Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Getting Back On Track

The Addicks will want to put the memory of Friday night to bed asap. The re-arranged game v Rochdale tonight gives them an early opportunity to do just that.

It was an improvement from the performance against Hull but we were secondbest for most of the evening. Quite why the wheels have come off the Charlton bus so spectacularly is probably down to a number of factors.

Firstly, there are the injuries to Innis and Famewo. Neither is a short term one and their absence is a clear reason to lack of clean sheets of late.

Secondly, there has probably been too much rotation within the team. Added to that we have seen players playing out of position. One understands the thinking behind that but the combined effect of it has only served to disrupt the team.

It was a telling stat on Friday that we have made more changes in personnel than any other team.

I’m yet to be convinced that not starting Aneke is a wise move. Yes, he has scored goals off the bench, that’s obvious. However, when he comes on we are invariably chasing the game.

He needs a run in where he is starting games. It was clear on Friday that nothing was sticking up front and up against a physical ( not dirty ) team we had no physical presence ourselves.

The midfield looks unbalanced and is in desperate need of one of Pratley or Watson to play there. My preference is for Pratley as he shades it for me over Watson. However, with one suspended and one injured it’s academic at present.

The handling of some of players is something of a mystery. One or two have been openly criticised and yet when they respond they don’t start the next game. This is particularly true of Maddison and Williams.

Maddison is clearly a player of some talent and he’d start every time for me. He needs a run in the team and poses more of a threat than most. His ability form set pieces and shooting from long range is second to none in our team.

Maddison is clearly a player who needs careful handling and it won’t help when he sees other players starting ahead of have not exactly been pulling up any trees!

Added to all of the above and Bowyer has seemingly not set the team up right a few times now. The disappointment of this is magnified as we’ve had two or three weeks now with no midweek game to interrupt training sessions. A clear run at prepping for the weekend match.

Finally, Bowyer has taken to very publicly criticising the players. On Friday virtually no one escaped unscathed. To go as far as to say he didn’t care about a player being injured wasn’t right. I’m sure it was a heat of the moment thing but I don’t think you can do that.

Lee has played under some great managers who have clearly had a bearing on his approach to management. He ought to take time to reflect on how some of them would have reacted to some of the games of late.

I can’t recall Bobby Robson, for example, exploding too many times post-match. Only once can I think of an occasion; when we beat Newcastle on a Sunday and he was fuming that they were about to go La Manga for a break. Bobby didn’t think they deserved it!

Lee has high standards and has played at the highest level of the game. Sadly, few players at our club will match that ability, however determined or driven they are. It’s fair enough to demand 100% but try as they might, many will not achieve a consistent level of performance.

That’s in no way an attempt to excuse some poor performances that we’ve seen from a few players this season more that Lee needs to adjust his expectations a tad.

Bowyer deserves more time and patience from some of our fans. He’s certainly earned it from his achievements to date and incredible loyalty in the face of adversity. Now he has decent backing from Thomas and we too should mirror that.

We still have a good squad and Bowyer along with Gallen can be trusted to get the right players in to complete the jigsaw. Once that’s done he just needs to be clear and consistent on team selection and how he deals with the players.

It will take time to right the neglect and wrongs of the Duchatelet era. All the pieces are starting to be put into place. Overall, if we end up in a play-off place I think we can consider it a job well one.

To achieve that we need to get back to winning ways and a win tomorrow over Rochdale would be a very welcome step in the right direction.

Come On You Reds!








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