Thursday 4 March 2021

University Challenge

The Addicks find themselves back on the road again on Saturday and that can only be a good thing. The benefits of playing at home clearly don’t apply in a pandemic as can be evidenced across the top 4 tiers of English football.

I don’t do many away games but have made the trip to the Kazzam a few times in recent years mainly because it’s close to home. At least I won’t have to endure the endless post-match wait in the car park this season!

We find ourselves reunited with Robinson whose only useful contribution to our club was the recruitment of Lee Bowyer. I really don’t miss those pre and post-match interviews full of sound bites and rhetoric as they were.

My last recollection of him was departing down the tunnel after a dreadful 0-0 draw on one of the coldest days known to man. He was grinning away probably safe in the knowledge that within the following few days he was off to Oxford.

From a dreadful start to the season Robinson has somehow managed to get Oxford up the league. This may, in part, have been down to the postponement of many games earlier in the season that afforded them more rest.

United are now playing catch up not helped by a run to the semi-finals of the pizza cup that incurred more games of course.

Despite that the U’s have been on a decent run with, I believe, a loss of only 2 league games in the last 17 matches. More recently they haven’t won in 5 games in drawing 3 and losing 2 whilst scoring only once.

In the home game keeper Simon Eastwood was at fault for at least one of our goals. He turned in a string of poor performances following it and we dropped soon after. He hasn’t found his way back since as his replacement, Jack Stevens, has been on top form. Indeed, he produced a man of the match performance on Tuesday in shutting out the Posh in a 0-0 draw.

Injuries are now taking their toll on Oxford though. Influential midfielder, Marcus McGunae, looks set to be missing for some time. Similarly too, experienced winger James Henry and striker Sam Winnall are both likely to be absent.

Tuesday’s game saw two more players get early baths due to injury. Eliot Lee appears to have a nasty knee injury and Sam Long has pulled a hammy. Neither is expected to feature on Saturday.

United have a local derby against rivals Swindon on Tuesday and that may play a part in Robinson’s team selection although he is somewhat limited as a result of the aforementioned injuries.

As far as the Addicks are concerned then clearly one hopes that Aneke is fit to play. Unless Stockley gets decent service, which is pretty rare, then we don’t carry much of a threat up front in his absence.

As good a finisher as he is, Schwartz doesn’t seem able to make an impact and offers next to nothing in  terms of assists.

Washington has failed to impress after a good start to the season. One might say there are mitigating circumstances with ever changing strike partners which I get. However, of late, he’s not done enough for me.

Tuesday’s win, albeit against the bottom team, was important as was the clean sheet. We can but hope we’ve turned a corner.

Whether it’s enough to dispel rumours that the players aren’t happy with Bowyer or playing for him only time will tell. However, despite the call from some fans to dispense with the manager, I’d guess that Thomas hasn’t any plans to do so.

On that basis alone, I’d suggest it would serve the club well for all fans to get behind the team and the manager until at least season end.

This game will be a good assessment of where we are and although a play-off spot would appear to be beyond, us a strong end to the season is important in terms of future plans.

Come On You Reds!


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