Sunday 31 December 2023

Happy New Year!

 As we approach 2024 it's tempting to think that things can only get better given how low we are as a club right now. Call me pessimistic, I'd prefer realistic but it is still possible for matters to get worse.

December proved to be whatever the month equivalent of an annus horribilis is! We exited the two remaining cup competitions leaving us free to focus on the league. Hmm we did so with all the visual perception of Mr Magoo!

We secured 3 points from 5 games mostly against weak or poor opposition. Our Achilles Heel (one of many) has been conceding late goals. Those against Cambridge were probably the worst but they are all of pretty much equal merit, if that is the right word to choose!

The team has gone backwards and the loss of Leaburn to injury has shown that Appleton really is no better than Holden even given a stronger squad overall that in fairness Dean didn't have.

The manager clearly has an issue with Louie Watson as he has demonstrated the his man management skills are as poor as his tactical and motivational ones. He appears devoid of any in all departments. 

To the above, you can add that Appleton is one of the most passionless gaffers we've ever had. However poor the performances or results he seems totally apathetic. He doesn't even seem remotely bothered that his position might be in danger. 

The only time he appears to be mildly irritated is the thought that the fans might want to see some good and winning football. Choosing to reference Curbs the other day was not a good decision. Where he differs with the fans is that we have ambition and a desire for better, he doesn't!

God knows we've had some awful managers over the last few years but Appleton is proving to be the worst of them. I never liked Robinson but I'd put him above the current boss. That tells you an awful lot!

Appleton set the tone and expectations at the beginning of the month. He couldn't stop going on about the January transfer window and getting in new players whilst removing some. In so doing he forget that there were some games in the meantime that needed attending to.

Appleton has used it as an excuse ever since. His post match comments are an irrelevance. He even seems to watching another game to the rest of us. 

Despite throwing games away and constantly delivering sub-standard displays the manager has seen fit to select the same starting eleven. His desire to consistently reward failure is staggering. Nothing exemplifies that more than the selection of Fraser over Watson L.

Of course to heap all the blame on Appleton is a bit unfair as in large part we ought to acknowledge Andy Scott. Didn't he say he'd take the credit (ha! ha!) or blame if things went either way. 

He did utter a few words the other day. To be honest I didn't pay much attention as it's actions more than any specious nonsense that we need. He's the one who has delivered us Appleton and a number of dodgy signings.

It doesn't look as though Appleton is about to leave probably as much due to Scott not wanting to have egg on his face in admitting the colossal mistake he's made.

Scott hasn't seen fit to comment following this disastrous run of games not even appearing the back the manager.

To remedy matters in both the short and long term Appleton needs to go. We then need to get a couple of fairly decent players in plus a manager with a proven record of success at this level.

All this should be done with an eye on the future and start now putting feelers out there and identifying players who have fight and a will to win and that can support the one or two decent player we do have.

We should already be planning for next season because this one's gone clearly.

Away from the football and on a more cheery note I hope that you and families have a good evening and may 2024 be good for you!

Let's hope that against the odds Charlton can deliver a decent display and more importantly 3 points tomorrow to at least start the new year in good fashion.

Come On You Reds!  



Friday 15 December 2023

Tough Ask At Barnsley

The Addicks head up north to take on Barnsley tomorrow for what promises to be a tough game.

Due to injuries as well as being on a poor run in terms of performance at least December was always going to be difficult.

The game against the Tykes looked the toughest of the month’s fixtures. Last Saturday showed that all games will be tough.

Appleton has had all week to work with the team so one expects to see a better display or at least first half than the dross we saw last Saturday.

The manger needs to be more pragmatic with his team selection. Thomas and Hector deserve to remain as the central pairing. Edun and Watson T ought to complete the defence.

The midfield should feature Watson L and Dobbo as a minimum and Kanu ought to partner May up front.

Failure to do that and/or repeat the silly line up that took to the pitch last Saturday is asking for trouble.

Following a pretty good start to the season Barnsley have blown a bit hot and cold recently. However, they remain one the best teams in the league and I’d be very surprised if they don’t finish the season in a play-off position at least.

Anything other than a loss will be a right result tomorrow.

The jury’s still out on Appleton and the new owners. December and January are the two months that will tell us all we need to know. However, I’m not sure that even with the best of intentions anyone can have a successful January transfer window.

Come On you Reds!

Monday 11 December 2023

A Long Month Ahead!

We’ve been in the third tier for a while now and so when I say that the first half on Saturday was one of the worst, if not the worst, I’ve seen in recent times you’ll understand just how bad it was!

Appleton is to blame for our failure to win this game. Cambridge ought to have been ahead at half time as they failed to take advantage of some glorious opportunities.

A couple of those came courtesy of defensive cock-ups one from AMB and one from playing it out poorly from the back ( I can’t recall who was to blame for that).

It was evident so early on that we’d been set up badly. No Louie Watson again whilst retaining Fraser in another physical game. In addition, the manager saw fit to give young Rylah his league debut.

The gaffer decided to play May on his own up front and so it was no wonder he got no change from the U’s defence.

I’m tempted to say that the manager’s learning on the job but clearly he’s not. He obviously learned nothing from the mad team selection against Cray Valley at home.

He ought to have changed things after at least 30 minutes but he delayed until half time when he made his one good sub decision of the day in bringing on Kanu.

The young striker showed an appetite missing from most in the first half. It was his persistence that set up the chance for May to score.

Minutes later and CBT decided either to earn his corn or remembered that a scout might be watching and produced some trickery and a lovely cross for Campbell C to head home.

We were fortunate to go 2-0 up but most of the Valley faithful knew that we needed a third to make it safe. I felt that if it stayed at 2-0 and the U’s scored at any time it would be a problem for us (I don’t say that with the benefit of hindsight btw).

Having got the first sub right, all the other subs Appleton made were utter madness. He brought on Mbick after Cambridge got their first. It was a change in the pipeline but not one he had to make after watching them score. There was time to pull out of that.

However, he simply didn’t have the courage, common sense or humility to alter the move.

When he brought on Deji to add another defender you knew instantly what it was going to lead to. We’ve seen it all to often. It was simply inviting them on to us. 

If they weren’t before then alarm bells ought to be ringing regarding the manager.

When we drew at Carlisle he said that if we beat Cheltenham it would be looked upon as a good point. Do me a favour!

Post match on Saturday and he was bemoaning the lack of older and experienced players. Utter tosh! Our failure to win was down to his management of the game.

We ought to be concerned that he seems to fall out with players. We can add Tedic (nothing said on why he wasn’t in the squad) to Watson L being ostracised.

On top of all this (and I know we have several injuries) but we’re a million miles away from a settled side. Instead, we have one that constantly changes from game to game.

Allied to that, attacking wise, we’re so one dimensional and when CBT can’t be bothered as appears to be the case several times of late, we offer virtually nothing.

We look set to struggle through the remainder of this month. Beyond that who knows?


Friday 8 December 2023

Time For Micky to Step Up!

Last week saw us exit two cup competitions. One mattered the other didn’t although you’d still have expected us to progress in both.

As find ourselves left “to focus on the league” we again have an horrendous injury list. I recall Sandgaard promising to fix it. Like may other things he didn’t despite medical matters allegedly being one of his areas of expertise alongside making great music man!

Devoid of several players reasonable comparisons to Holden’s management can be made of Appleton. Dean was without Leaburn at the start of the season. Unlike the previous manager though Appleton has Watson L, Watson T, Abankwah and Tedic available to him.

Not all are equally good but at least two of those have proved more than capable. Holden would loved to have been able to field Leaburn. It might have saved him to be fair.

Injuries albeit that we have loads, are part and parcel of football and managers have to deal with them. 

In the last 10 league games we’ve secured 16 points. 4 wins have come courtesy of beating teams in 14th, 20th, 23rd and 24th place.

There have been 4 draws against teams in 1st, 8th, 12th and 22nd. Only the draw at Portsmouth can be considered a good result. Our recent failure to put Carlisle away was shocking.

We’ve lost to teams in 2nd and 9th place.

I know some will defend the manager by saying these aren’t his players, he hasn’t had a transfer window and I get that. However, overall Appleton has had a reasonable squad at his disposal. I just don’t think he’s used them as well as he can.

He has a very inconsistent use of some players. Former favourites are now persona non grata and some outcasts are now very much in favour. Others like Watson L switch between the two.

No wonder there’s an apparent apathy in some of the performances especially when some of our boys appear to be untouchable despite that a kick up the backside would do them good!

The majority of games are marked by inconsistent halves of football although when we’re bad we’re very, very bad!

Often there’s a failure to sub players despite almost the whole team having a stinker. I’m all for giving players a second chance but you can go too far! It’s the old stone in the shoe scenario……remove it asap!

Look how we stormed ahead at Wigan and ended up holding on. Made a poor starts against Exeter, Reading and Portsmouth before finally getting some form those games.

Mickey has failed to address the poor defending that almost guarantees a couple of howlers in every game. The perennial problem of our inability to make the best of set pieces remains.

To that I’d add our basic issues in defending short corners and for every type of corner feeling the need to have every player back to defend! Arghhh!

Tomorrow, he’ll oversee our boys as they take on Cambridge. The U’s have just appointed Neil Harris as manager. He’s no fool and will know exactly how to organise the U’s whilst being acutely aware of all matters at our club.

Appleton needs to have the team better organised and motivated for every game that remains in December as a minimum. Then we’ll see what the transfer window offers (very little I expect!),

Whilst Appleton has an apparent imposing physical presence I’m not sure that’s backed up by words and deeds. A bit of passion during the game and at other times and/or directed towards players (not the fans!!!) wouldn’t go amiss.

Let’s hope we can get back to winning ways tomorrow.

Come On You Reds!

Monday 4 December 2023

Dumped Out Of The Cup

Despite Appleton selecting a better team than he did at the first time of asking in the first round Charlton managed to lost to Gillingham with a performance that got all it deserved.

I’ve only seen the “highlights” but it’s clear from the comments of those who were there that this was truly awful and our boys barring one or two exceptions pretty much didn’t seem bothered.

Going down 2-0 after 30 minutes left plenty of time to get into gear and show some fight and determination to get back into the game. Clearly, that wasn’t forthcoming.

Here ends another F.A. Cup campaign. Dreams of a decent third round tie have been consigned to the bin.

It seems it doesn’t matter who’s at the helm they simply can’t motivate the players to get up for these games.

You’d have a few well chosen words at half time might have had an impact. Added to that why not make subs then too in order to show your displeasure?

Looking at things as they are now, a mid-table finish is probably the best we can hope for.

We can dream of a January transfer that sees better players arriving but without major investment that just won’t happen.

Things will probably remain the same until the summer and even then we’re hoping for a big spend.

In addition, we really need to offload some of our big earners who just aren’t contributing.

It’s a shame but this already looks like another forgettable season with Alfie May and Jones just about the only bright sparks.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

May Double Sees Off Old Club

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different outcome. That sprang to mind last night as I saw that Appleton had picked the same starting eleven that failed to get a result against a lowly and poor Carlisle side on Saturday.

Having appeared rather lacklustre in recent games, Leaburn amongst others could count himself lucky to retain his place. Accepted that the do date unproven Tedic is currently his only threat, he was still fortunate.

However, perhaps he is unfortunate as had he not started he probably doesn’t sustain the injury that saw him subbed for the aforementioned in the first half. It doesn’t look good and we may be without him for another prolonged period.

Opportunities have been limited for our City loanee and those that have come along have seen him playing wide right, not his favoured position. Of late, he’s barely set foot on the pitch.

I’m not sure what some fans were expecting but unsurprisingly he didn’t go bag a hat-trick. However, he did no worse than many others.

Cue the almost inevitable comments dissing his performance. I’m not sure why he can’t be afforded the same latitude as many other players.

It is what it is I guess. I’m not saying he’s good or bad, I can’t as I haven’t seen enough of him. However, give him some game time on a decent run and we can then make an educated judgement.

Quite why Louie Watson didn’t come straight back into the side is a mystery whose answer is known only to our manager.

Clearly, Mickey’s poor team selection isn’t restricted to the FA Cup!

The opening goal was another one to add to the album entitled “ Charlton’s awful defending leading to goals Season 23/24! “.

The marking was non-existent and why AMB didn’t come for the ball is anyone’s guess. Maybe, like Cinderella, he was waiting for an invite.

Thankfully, we managed to turn things around and secure a win over Cheltenham courtesy of two well taken penalties by May.

Contrary to what the manager said post match on Saturday, I still don't think the draw against Carlisle was a good point! 

That we didn’t score from open play against another lowly team ought to be a cause for concern. Again I’d question CBT’s decision making. He appears to be looking to score worldies as opposed to taking option of squaring the ball to a teammate.

It’s back to cup action on Saturday with the Gills away our “reward” for overcoming Cray Valley! Huge potential for egg on face all other embarrassment aside. We need to get the job done no matter what or how.

At a minimum, the manager must select the strongest side. We all know roughly what that is, sadly he doesn’t seem to!

Fingers crossed that we can win as it would be nice to go into the third round draw dreaming of getting a plum home tie!

Monday 27 November 2023

A Missed Opportunity

I must start by paying tribute to Dave Thompson author of Drinking During The Game who sadly passed away last Thursday.

Dave wrote so well and his blog was always an excellent read as the result of his insightful thoughts and knowledge. He always saw through the façade of the various characters that inhabited S.E.7 in recent years. Dave always wrote with passion and his love of our club was clear and obvious.

Outside of Charlton, he wrote about the Scottish rugby team and also Welling United and he often attended games there.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Dave but it is clear from all the comments and tributes on Charlton Life, Twitter, the CAST website and other media that he was a decent person and loved by many.

Chicago Addick was a close friend and you have already read it, here’s a link to his tribute :-

My condolences to his family and friends. RIP Dave.

Saturday saw the Addicks throw away a glorious opportunity to pick up a rare away win. We dominated the game and not to leave with all 3 points is at best disappointing.

If we harbour any aspirations of a play-off spot at a minimum that we need to far more clinical especially when you get the volume of chances we created on Saturday.

Appleton again decided that Louie Watson was not deserving of a starting place despite being one of our best performers of late. Having previously dropped him because “ not everyone sees the oppo getting in behind him “ he left him out on Saturday based on experience.

Huh? Why not pick a player on form? In addition, we were playing Carlisle, a team who aren’t pulling up any trees this season.

As it happens Fraser went on to have a poor game. In fact, in the lead up to their goal it was the number 10 who was cheaply dispossessed. He also seems to have lost the threat he once had from free kicks.

Other aspects of Appleton’s decision making ought to be questioned. As much as we all like Miles, in the last 3 or 4 games he has been poor. Despite having a poor and ineffective game the manager didn’t see fit to give Tedic even 20 minutes or so.

Imagine if the City loanee had started the last 3 games and performed the same as Leaburn? The message boards and social media would be full of comments slating him.

To be in charge and in control for virtually the whole 90 odd minutes and not secure a win is criminal really.

Post match and the gaffer reckons it’ll be viewed as a good point if we beat Cheltenham tomorrow. No it won’t! It’ll be viewed as 2 points dropped and just not good enough.

Saturday and the next two games are ones where it’s not unreasonable to expect a 9 point return. Despite Cheltenham’s mini-revival if we don’t get 6 points from the next two league games it will also not be good enough.

I get that the current squad isn’t of his choosing but Appleton has enough at his disposal to do better.

Let’s hope he can get the team to deliver starting tomorrow.

Come On You Reds!

I must start by paying tribute to Dave Thompson author of Drinking During The Game who sadly passed away last Thursday.


Dave wrote so well and his blog was always an excellent read as the result of his insightful thoughts and knowledge. He always saw through the façade of the various characters that inhabited S.E.7 in recent years. Dave always wrote with passion and his love of our club was clear and obvious.


Outside of Charlton, he wrote about the Scottish rugby team and also Welling United and he often attended games there.


I never had the pleasure of meeting Dave but it is clear from all the comments and tributes on Charlton Life, Twitter, the CAST website and other media that he was a decent person and loved by many.


Chicago Addick was a close friend and you have already read it, here’s a link to his tribute :-


My condolences to his family and friends. RIP Dave.


Saturday saw the Addicks throw away a glorious opportunity to pick up a rare away win. We dominated the game and not to leave with all 3 points is at best disappointing.


If we harbour any aspirations of a play-off spot at a minimum that we need to far more clinical especially when you get the volume of chances we created on Saturday.


Appleton again decided that Louie Watson was not deserving of a starting place despite being one of our best performers of late. Having previously dropped him because “ not everyone sees the oppo getting in behind him “ he left him out on Saturday based on experience.


Huh? Why not pick a player on form? In addition, we were playing Carlisle, a team who aren’t pulling up any trees this season.


As it happens Fraser went on to have a poor game. In fact, in the lead up to their goal it was the number 10 who was cheaply dispossessed.


Other aspects of Appleton’s decision making ought to be questioned. As much as we all like Miles, in the last 3 or 4 games he has been poor. Despite having a poor and ineffective game the manager didn’t see fit to give Tedic even 20 minutes or so.


Imagine if the City loanee had started the last 3 games and performed the same as Leaburn? The message boards and social media would be full of comments slating him.


To be in charge and in control for virtually the whole 90 odd minutes and not secure a win is criminal really.


Post match and the gaffer reckons it’ll be viewed as a good point if we beat Cheltenham tomorrow. No it won’t! It’ll be viewed as 2 points dropped and just not good enough.


Saturday and the next two games are ones where it’s not unreasonable to expect a 9 point return. Despite Cheltenham’s mini-revival if we don’t get 6 points from the next two league games it will also not be good enough.


I get that the current squad isn’t of his choosing but Appleton has enough at his disposal to do better.


Let’s hope he can get the team to deliver starting tomorrow.


Come On You Reds!

Thursday 16 November 2023

Job Done At The Second Time Of Asking

The Addicks secured their place in round 2 at The Artic Stadium last night after a brief scare.

Not unsurprisingly, a much stronger looking side took to the pitch to tackle Cray Valley and they eventually got the job done.

It really shouldn’t have needed a replay nor should Appleton have subjected the club and its fans to the mess of the first tie that required the replay.

Instead of admitting his initial selection error Michael opted to tell us that he found out about some of his players as a result of the game in S.E.7. He ought not to have required that game to do so.

Mess around in the Football League Trophy if you want to see how players respond in games. Don’t do it in the Cup risking the worst defeat in the club’s history. God knows we’ve had some bad ones so it’s indicative of how very bad defeat would have been.

Alfie May had a stonking game and set us on our way scoring following lovely control and finish.

Sadly, Walker (always likely to be our Achilles heel) gave Cray a lifeline with a reckless challenge just outside the area. A penalty ensued along with a yellow card and K Lisbie junior dispatched it. Good for him.

I often wonder why keepers are immune from being subbed and I was wondering again last night. Walker was poor in both games and his ill-judged actions yesterday really ought to have seen him hooked at half time.

I really hope we never need to call upon Walker in a league game.

All in all it proved to be a minor set back as the second half saw us impose ourselves against tiring limbs finally finding the net another 5 times.

Job done. However, there a few points of interest. CBT was replaced at half time and I’ve yet to see why that was. Much like Saturday he was pretty ineffectual. It’s a cause for concern because that’s a game and a half where he’s not done anything.

Tedic didn’t get off the bench. Again, I’m going to bang the drum for him. Miles scored but did little else and didn’t appear up for it for whatever reason. I’ll wager that if Tedic had performed like that (and Miles was another who didn’t do much on Saturday) he’d have got some stick.

However, the loanee isn’t being handled very well and hasn’t really had the chance to show what he can do in his proper position. Appleton may not like him for some reason but this is the same Appleton that saw fit to leave Louie Watson out of the side recently. As such, I’ll not hold any great store by that!

Finally, whatever game we’re playing, I don’t understand why we have everyone back at corners. Playing an 8th tier side and we’re still doing it! Arghh! What on earth!

It’s things like the above that mean I don’t have great faith in Appleton. He’s got a lot to do to change my opinion of him. He’s an adequate manager but that’s all I can see at present.

Anyway, we’ve got a break this weekend before some nonsense against Sutton ahead of a trip to Carlisle the following Saturday.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

A Tale Of Two Keepers!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times………..that may go on to be an extract from AMB’s autobiography when referencing Saturday’s game.

It certainly was A Tale of Two Keepers! One who made some great saves but had one blip when he was Rashley Maynard-Brewer. The other was suitably dubbed “ Nearpost Norris” after letting in a couple that he ought to have done better with.

The mickey-taking of the Pompey number 1 is all the more enjoyable following his Oscar inspired moment of feigning injury when Alfie came close by. Rather pathetic and it’s that sort of thing that is deserving of a post match yellow card at least.

This was overall a pretty decent game with both going for the win and The Addicks could indeed have left with all 3 points had Dobbo managed to square the ball at the end.

I think a win would have a bit harsh on the home team but reward for our tenacious spirit.

Portsmouth start brightly as befits league leaders who are on a long unbeaten run and full of confidence. For the first 15 minutes or so we were under pressure. However, we defended well and withstood the onslaught and started to grow into the game.

Sadly, the good work was undone by the sort of defending that is starting to characterise our team. The corner leading to the goal saw us leave a player unmarked on the edge of the box and naturally it fell to him and he put it away well.

We really need to resolve this. We have everyone back for corners but as tall as he is, I don’t recall Alfie winning a defensive header yet!

We usually only send one player out when defending short corners and this is plain stupidity aside from being naïve. The manager simply must address this. He often claims he sees us mere mortals don’t but he himself is either suffering from myopia or believes this is a good method of defending!

The second half saw us get more chances and move more onto the front foot. Ultimately it led to Alfie squeezing a shot past Nearpost Norris to level things up.

AMB had made series of excellent saves to keep us in the game and perhaps as a result of being so pumped a moment of madness saw him rush out to defend an attack. Having upended the Pompey player there was only one possible outcome and Bishop did the necessary from the spot.

The Addicks remained on the front foot whilst continuing to defend resolutely best epitomised by Watson T’s lunge to block a shot.

Late into the game and on came McGrandles. I expected very little from him but he made his point as well as the teams with his well placed header deep into injury time. Again Nearpost Norris ought to have done better but who cares!

The goal was celebrated wildly by the away fans as those in Blue had to face facts…’ll never beat the Charlton!

A very good away point at the league leaders and a vastly improved performance compared to Sunday’s cup effort.

Most of the team played well but there one or two disappointments. Leaburn had a quiet game maybe down to the service but we didn’t see much from him. If it had been Tedic who started and it panned out that way I believe he’d have come in for some criticism from our fans.

I’m not sure why the Man City loanee didn’t set foot on the pitch. As I said, it wasn’t as though Miles was having a blinder.

Speaking of which the same is true of CBT. I know he carries a threat but how he stayed on for the whole game is a mystery. He didn’t show at all and really ought to have come off.

As with hector in previous games, it doesn’t send a good message if it seems that certain players are immune from being subbed.

Anyway, a great result and point that needs to built upon. There’s little point in failing to reproduce that effort in upcoming, easier looking games.

Elsewhere, Cray Valley beat the Deres 3-0. Tomorrow’s cup game won’t be easy on their ground but unless Appleton opts to select another weak team we ought to come through with the joy of Gillingham away to look forward to!   

Friday 10 November 2023


Following our dismal performance in the cup one could be forgiven for thinking that playing Portsmouth away would be ideal. History certainly backs that up. However, we are currently a team with a few injuries and one that seems only capable of managing one decent half of football.

However, Portsmouth are currently enjoying a long unbeaten run and sit atop League One.

I think it’s safe to say there will be change to Sunday’s starting line up although may be just shy of the eleven that Appleton made for that game.

Like may others I’m still seething. His comments about still be in the competition to right that wrong and nonsense about players being “anxious” really didn’t help my mood on Sunday evening.

I’ve no idea what Appleton was thinking last week. You simply can’t make that many changes. There are very few clubs that can do that at any level.

Realistically on Saturday anything other than defeat will be a good result all things considered.

John Mousinho has enjoyed a great start to his managerial career since leaving Oxford where he was player/coach. It’s been a fantastic appointment by Pompey.

The jury is very much still out on Appleton despite what the BBC commentary team had to say last weekend. I’d acknowledge a degree of improvement in attacking terms in our side but defensively the issues remain.

As stated above in inability to deliver anywhere near 90 minutes of a solid performance is cause for concern.

Hopefully Edun will return to the league starting eleven and I’d like to think that Tedic will also start in the main striker role.

When I looked at last week’s line up (after having recovered from the initial shock) I was pleased to see the Man City loanee where he should be. Sadly, he didn’t have the best support and I feared that he come in for some stick unless he bagged a hat-trick or similar.

Let’s give him the opportunity to show what he can do in a fairly decent side and in the right position.

As much as we all lauded the first half display against Wigan it ought to be remembered that fate lent a hand. Had Camara not been got injured then Alfie May would have stayed out wide and his goals may well have not been scored.

With no one in defence taking their chance to impress one assumes a back four of Edun, Hector, Jones and Asiimwe/Watson (T).

Watson (L) ought to start assuming Appleton is no longer spouting the guff about the oppo getting in behind him (something a lot of people don’t see apparently).

Mickey has preferred Fraser (he even made him captain on Sunday!). Of course the tough tackling, non-stop running of him would see him get the nod! Scott is a luxury player of the type we can’t afford so in another tough league game he shouldn’t start.

Let’s hope and pray that our hold over Pompey continues and that we inflict another defeat whilst ending another club’s unbeaten run (we can be good at that !). There's never been a better time to bounce back!

Come On You Reds!

Sunday 5 November 2023

Arrogant and Disrespectful!

Arrogant and disrespectful! That’s the general view of Appleton’s team selection today. I’m not sure who it’s more disrespectful to Cray Valley or our own fans!

If you’re going to put out a side like that then you really ought to let the fans know before they shell out on a ticket and give up their hard earned money and time.

The bizarre thing is that recently Appleton spoke of the importance of trophies and he was speaking about the EFL trophy. He put out a stronger starting eleven against Villa U21 than he did against Cray Valley in the rather more prestigious FA Cup!!

Some fans are trying to absolve the manager of blame saying the players had their chance to impress. Hello! He picked the team, he left Kirk on the pitch as long as he did when it was clear he wasn’t interested nor capable. He simply wouldn’t get into the Cray Valley team nor would they want him.

Despite all that Appleton had the chances to change things and when he did it was too little, too late.

I feel for Tedic because he’ll no doubt get some criticism. He really should have been played in his proper position before now. The poor guy finally gets to do so but supported by the B team. He got little service after showing great awareness for our goal.

This result and performance was worse than Northwich Victoria. I’m really angry with Appleton who has failed to really convince me. There have been to many good half, bad half games. Games where we’ve had to make subs in order to get the make up of the team right. Games where were chasing it or games like Tuesday, where were comfortably leading then nearly throw it all away.

I had to chuckle when the commentators were saying how he’d won us over! Really?   

Now we face an additional game when we’re already playing catch up.

Appleton is fast turning into the joke figure he’s always been seen as on Charlton Life when he got linked with every job going. He’ll probably be around for some time to come because he’s Andy Scott’s mate and he won’t any more egg on his face.

We’re stuck with him for the foreseeable. Let’s hope we can pick up enough points to stay up and this season it’s not going to be any better than mid table.

The manger has to hope that the rested players put on a good show at Fratton Park or he’ll look even more silly as difficult as that sounds!

Monday 30 October 2023

Too Easy For Bolton

I never expected that we would necessarily get anything from Saturday’s game against Bolton but I had hoped that we put up a better fight. I’d hope for a reaction to Tuesday’s awful display but we simply didn’t get it.

However, before we’d kicked a ball in anger we were always going to be up against it due to the team selection.

I’d said in my last post that it was time for Tedic as it was clear we were going to need a physical presence up front. Instead Appleton opted to leave our two big strikers on the bench and Tedic failed to appear at all!

Added to that Louie Watson was again left out in favour of Fraser. I’m afraid that Scott was as disappointing as he’d been in the Lincoln game. The manger later tried to justify the decision by stating that most of us aren’t seeing how the oppo get round the back of Louie. What? And that’s not the case with Fraser? Utter tosh!

On top of all this again we opted to defend short corners with only one player going over. Funny but in the resulting 2 v 1 scenario Bolton got past us and it led directly to the first goal. It’s been coming for weeks.

The second goal was partly down to the ref but we could all see what was going to happen unless you were wearing a red shirt on the pitch. As bad as the ref was there it ought to have been dealt with. The lack of awareness of leadership was all too evident.

2-0 down after 21 minutes and we all knew the game was up.

Much has been made of Appleton’s use of subs but here he spectacularly failed to even at half time.    

In fact 58 minutes elapsed before a change was made. 2 further changes were made but as I said our strapping striker on loan from Man City never appeared.

CBT had a poor but Mickey boy decided not to give Kirk a run out. I’m far from his biggest fan but he is a winger and why have him on the bench and not use him if CBT is not doing the business?

This performance allied to the Lincoln one made it a really poor week for us. A large portion of the blame has to go to the manager.

I know the second half was better. However, in every game we seem to have a poor half followed by a better one. Why can’t he get it right from the start?

As unfortunate as Aneke’s injury was I’d also point the finger at Appleton for that. I know he scored but starting Chuks when you know his history and he was still recovering from the previous injury was poor in my opinion. Now we’re without him for months.

One has to question whether given the resources now available whether Holden wouldn’t have done as well if not better. Maybe not but it’s a fair question to ask.

When the gaffer starts talking about Xg and the January transfer window you know he’s clutching at straws. That he’s doing so at such an embryonic stage of his Charlton reign is worrying.

The next two league games are looking very tough especially as they’re both away and we all know how that’s gone this season!

I’m still prepared to give Appleton the benefit of the doubt but he needs to sort things.

Hector doesn’t deserve to stay in the team, Ness ought to be given a run in the side and Tedic should be given a go in his proper position.

We need to sort the basics like defending short corners, not have everyone back at corners etc.

They all need a kick up the backside and someone needs to show some passion and leadership.

Let’s hope we can at least show some of that tomorrow night against a resurgent Wigan.

Come On You Reds!

Friday 27 October 2023

Time For Tedic!

Tuesday's performance is probably best forgotten. When the only player to emerge with any real credit is AMB it tells you how bad we were. We missed out on a chance to move up the league and a win ironically would see us where Lincoln are now.

We had been on a good run of course but now it's all about how we bounce back. Hopefully it will serve as a kick up the backside not that one ought to be needed when you're playing one of the top sides in Bolton.

Bolton were my favourites to win the league and I see no reason to think that won't still be the case. They have the occasional blip but are largely consistent and score well although clean sheets are a bit of a rarity.

Last season Bolton finished 5th and narrowly lost out in the playoff semis to Barnsley. They will want to improve on that this season.

The lads need to be really up for this one and it will require us to be physically strong in order to be competitive. As such I think Fraser is a luxury we can't afford tomorrow. The same could be said of Hector. He seemed to have turned a corner last weekend but reverted to type on Tuesday. 

Appleton has appeared reluctant to drop him but I'd bring Ness in for him as the errors are too frequent.

The absence of Chuks is a massive blow. He carries a threat that none of our other strikers does. The impact that he has off the bench in particular is more than useful. If played in his more accustomed position then it's time for Tedic to step up.

If he has anything about him then he ought to be champing at the bit to go and show what he can do. He ought to be able to imposed himself physically and be up for it. Let's hope he shows some real desire and aggression tomorrow.

The manager needs to shake it up a bit as we're in danger of becoming too predictable and our over reliance on CBT makes it easy to stifle the majority of our attacks as Lincoln proved on Tuesday.

If we can raise our game and match the Trotters then it should be a good game. For the second week running we can look forward to a full away end and that will add to the atmosphere.

Come On You Reds!

Monday 23 October 2023

Royals Rumbled!

One player’s performance reflected that of the team on Saturday and that was CBT. He ended up as many people’s man of the match.

Our number 23 had a poor first half where his decision making and execution let him down. Like all skilful players he can frustrate and delight in equal measure.

CBT’s second half display like the team’s was all together better and he ended up with three assists and was central to our win.

The first 45 minutes wasn’t very good from us and a better side would have gone 2 or 3 up as they had the better chances much as they continued to do in the early stages of the second period.

I know Chuks scored but I wouldn’t have started with him as I feel he’s better coming off the bench. He took his chance well and it was a well executed header. Sadly, I fear the worst with the injury he picked up. Certainly his reaction to it suggested the worst and now we face being without him for some time I suspect.

In the first half we failed to play to his strengths, there were no balls played into his feet so that he could lay it off or attempt to turn the defender. It was such a waste!

We really need to improve our opening efforts as better teams will not be so forgiving.

After a 4-0 win it seems a bit harsh to be even slightly critical but if we are serious about achieving at least a play-off place then we need to make that improvement.

It was pleasing to see Hector have a decent game and he looked more like the player we know he can be. He and Jones worked well together and the Welshman had another impeccable game.

After being repelled mostly by Reading’s impressive number 32, Nelson Abbey (I’d be more than happy if we got him) we finally made the breakthrough. From then on the goals kept coming.

Each of those goals was quality and it was nice to see us score four and for them to be so good.

Campbell’s strike was superb as was his assist for Leaburn’s goal.

The one sour note from Saturday was the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton. He was an England legend who won everything in the game. He was a real gentleman and no one has a bad word to say about him. He was a true giant of the game. RIP Sir Bobby.

Appleton’s unbeaten start continues and fair play to him. If we can overcome Lincoln tomorrow then it’ll make Saturday’s encounter with Bolton all the more appetising.

The Trotters will present the new manager’s biggest test to date.

Lincoln have just dispensed with Mark Kennedy and Tom Shaw is in caretaker charge. The Imps managed a 1-0 win over lowly Fleetwood at the weekend.

The Charlton connection for this game is Reeco Hackett-Fairchild. He went off injured on Saturday and so we wait to see if he’ll play.

Given the number of clubs he’s managed it ought not to be a surprise that for the second time in a few weeks we come up against one of Appleton’s old teams. He is more fondly remembered by Lincoln fans than Blackpool’s.

A win tomorrow would be quite timely and a real shot in the arm for our drive up the table.

Come On You Reds!

Friday 20 October 2023

Elizabeth Line Derby

It was with great foresight that the Elizabeth line was commissioned by planners that appreciated that come the 2023/24 season it would be needed to transport fans both ways for their respective league encounters. 

The first instalment of the Elizabeth Line derby takes place tomorrow and such is the plight of the Royals, especially when playing away that The Addicks are favourites. Oh dear! That’s never a good position for us as any seasoned Charlton fan will attest. 

Appleton is unbeaten to date as Charlton manager so what could possibly go wrong! I suspect I won’t be the only one having a small wager on an away win in order to soften the blow should it come to pass. 

As referenced above, it is the away form that has been the issue for the Berkshire Boys this season. They have secured some good wins at home although in a couple of matches the oppo has suffered a red card I note although in one of those it was so late as to make no real difference. 

Reading have had a tough time of course with bad owners and we know all about them eh? It’s to be hoped that their fortunes turn around and things improve for them. 

Amongst their ranks is 20 year old Charlie Savage, son of Robbie. It’ll be interesting to see if Young Savage (one for Ultravox fans!) possesses the same combative style as his dad. 

Dom Ballard on loan from Southampton is also one to watch and I’m delighted to say an ex-Addick is in their ranks in the form of goalkeeper, David Buttton. He played a handful of games for the Addicks in the 2012-13 season. 

I can’t see us setting out much differently to how we did last time. I do hope that Aneke is held back as sub as I feel that’s he’s most effective coming on from the bench. 

Despite Fraser being fit again I believe Louie Watson deserves a start over him. 

Namesake Tennai came in for some criticism last time that I felt was unwarranted. I’d have him start again. 

Whatever the starting eleven one hopes that we don’t see repeat of the first half bad, second half good scenario. We need to be more clinical in and around the box and cut out the silly defensive errors.    

Come On You Reds!

Monday 9 October 2023

Groundhog Day

It was Groundhog Day at The Valley on Saturday as we witnessed another insipid first half performance from the Addicks and a better second that enabled us to salvage something.

I do wish Appleton would give up on the idea of playing strikers wide on the right. Leaburn and now Tedic have both shown it’s not really for them.

We created very little in the first half and I think I’m right in saying that we didn’t have an effort on target until well into the second. That’s quite damning as a team in reasonable form against a fellow mid-table outfit.

As in most games this season the goals we conceded were down to poor defending. For the first Rhodes lost his marker all too easily and had plenty of time and space to finish.

The second was down to Hector as he got robbed after failing to clear the ball in a dangerous area with no cover.

Hector seems to be immune from being dropped or subbed. He has made some real howlers of late but he is still starting. It wouldn’t hurt to drop him to the bench. I’d like to see Ness given another chance.

Appleton is bold in making changes and he’s not afraid to make two or three subs at one time. However, a lot of the time these are to address the fact that we haven’t set up correctly in the first place.

Added to that I’m not sure why he didn’t make the changes at half time. Leaving it until a few minutes into the second period means getting fresh instructions out when it could all have been done in the dressing room.

Of course, one of those changes saw the main man enter the fray. Chuks changed the game for us. It was quite some performance from him.

His run and assist for May’s goal was simply outstanding. Power and pace allied to great determination saw him get past the defender. He could easily have opted to shot rather than set up Alfie and it was as wonderful as it was unselfish.

CBT’s run and finish for his goal was amazing and another bit of quality. Sadly, that was a rare bright moment in a largely forgettable game for him.

Momentum was truly with us and we had some good chances to score again with one notable effort that really did land in Row Z!

To be fair the Seasiders ought to have scored from the header late on that was thankfully directed straight at AMB.

Good to see that Morgan got a decent reception and got on the pitch. The Blackpool faithful’s singing about why he left was stretching credulity though!

With next Saturday’s postponement there’s no league action for 2 weeks. Tuesday sees us in EFL Trophy action. Appleton is on his own in his love for that. We really don’t need to be playing meaningless games like this especially as we’re already playing catch up with league games.

Let’s hope Appleton is able to put the spare time to good use. He can iron out the defensive errors and pick the correct eleven from the word go!

Friday 6 October 2023

There's A Famous Seaside Place Called......

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool

That's noted for fresh air and fun

And Mr. and Mrs. Morgan

Went there with young Albie, their son

A grand little lad were young Albie,

He played to his best,

But never really impressed,

Now beyond the bench he does rarely progress.

Blackpool are next up in SE7. Amongst their ranks of course is Albie Morgan formerly of this parish. Most of us recall Albie as a player who tried hard and shone on occasion but could never achieve the required level of consistency.

One hoped that a move away might help him but it would appear that despite him featuring the opening games of the season he is now an occasional squad member.

Having been out od the squad completely, Albie returned to the bench last Saturday. One assumes that Neil Critchley will be tempted to at least have him on the bench tomorrow as he may feel Morgan has a point to prove.

Someone else with a point to prove of course is Appleton. He had an unsuccessful spell as manager and is not as fondly remembered by the Blackpool fans as those of Oxford.

The Seasiders record this season is almost identical to ours and they sit one place and point above us. They’ve enjoyed some highs and lows with pretty much the same mixed bag of results as ourselves.

One has to assume the we witness the same starting eleven for the Addicks. I can’t see that Aneke is up to another start in 4 days. That leaves the quandary as to who plays up front.

Appleton will probably go for a straight swap of Leaburn replacing Aneke and keep May in a number 10 role that he did well in and have Tedic out wide.

Louie Watson ought to start again. He has been great. I’d include the other Watson in that too. Tennai offers us so much attacking threat on the right. Without him nothing comes from there and it’s all about CBT on the left.

This is a game we ought to be confident in winning not least because of our recent form. However, we can’t keep making the silly defensive mistakes that we have. Tuesday saw another howler and as is often the case Hector was involved.

With all his experience he should know better and not up being a great big, silly old Hector!

The weather looks good this weekend, the team should be confident, Appleton has a point to prove, there’s a better squad to chose from and hopefully we’ll see a decent crowd. It should be great, right? I mean what could go wrong!

Come On You Reds!

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Addicks Hit Four!

A surprising starting eleven for the game versus Exeter. Some of out of choice with some due to injury. Not least in respect of AMB being restored to start in between the posts. Not before time some would say as Isted hasn't filled us with confidence.

It was a bit of a shock and a bold move by Appleton so it was good to him rewarded with the win. Chuks made his first start since God knows when and that alone was a shock as most of us thought he'd only play off the bench. 

Charlton started positively and pushed City back in the early exchanges although they had a couple of half chances themselves.

The lino had a couple of tight calls for offside when he flagged CBT and more importantly Chuks in the 20th minute just as the number 22 had slotted home. This followed a lovely through ball from Louie Watson. Both were very close........if only we had VAR!!!!!

Two minutes later and rank bad defending from us allowed a simple through ball sent Scott through to put the Grecians 1 up. The blame for that looked to be down to Hector who was simply too far up the pitch leaving the goalscorer in acres of space.

In a lovely move in the 38th Minute Scott nearly scored again as he turned a cross just over the bar.

Before that Exeter could well have been ahead with at lest two glorious chances coming close.

Shortly after that Hector nearly made amends for the goal as he turned and shot just wide. It was a nice effort.

Just before half time and CBT equalised and overall it was deserved. A nice cross from May was met well by Chuks whose header clipped the underside of the bar. Fortunately, CBT reacted quickest to slam the ball into the net.

The Addicks started the second half brightly and continued to press and create chances. Eventually good play by Tennai who again reminded us what he offers going forward led to a penalty. I know Chuks needs a goal but he really shouldn't have taken it. Fortunately, the man who should have done was alert enough to be on hand to convert the rebound.

Aneke's disappointing spot kick was to prove the last bit of action for him as he gave way to Leaburn soon after. 

City came back into the game despite going down to 10 men. However, Miles Leaburn put the final nail in the Grecian's coffin with a lovely control and hard hit, accurate shot that simply flew into the net.

It was quite timely as the Addicks desperately needed to replace some tired legs. That duly happened as Watson x 2 and Tedic were replaced by Fraser, Campbell T and Asiimwe.

The Addicks kept pressing and a fine run by CBT was unselfishly laid back to Leaburn who couldn't quite convert it but that man May was on hand again to smash the ball into the net.

All in all a good result and performance. There is still room for improvement of course. We gifted their goal, we looked exposed when leaving only two back against their two forwards in the first half and when Tennai went off we offered nothing down the right against ten men and a team 4-1 behind!

It was a lovely cameo from Leaburn. We really did miss him at the start of the season.

Appleton's unbeaten run continues. Blackpool up next in SE7 and I note that Albie was an unused sub last night. I wonder if we'll see anything of him on Saturday?

Monday 2 October 2023

A Missed Opportunity

A missed opportunity on Saturday as again we didn't set up right from the start and despite changing things in the second half we failed to score and get the win.

My hope before kick off was that we wouldn't see Leaburn out wide again but that's what we got. What a surprise then that this failed to yield any return. This experiment needs to end now. We need to play two up front and that's it.

The first half by all accounts was a dreadful affair. I don't think we even managed a shot on target. We were lucky not to be two or three goals behind and that it wasn't was largely down to Isted who finally showed up for a game although he was lucky not to see red as he took out one of theirs.

The second half saw a better effort but not sufficient to get us a goal sadly.

Appleton made reference to some players not pulling their weight. After this display it's difficult to narrow that down as to exactly who he might be referring to!

No week off this week as we entertain Exeter City on Tuesday. The Grecians are 5 points better off than us thanks to a decent start to the campaign. However, like Shrewsbury they are on a poor run of form. Playing at home we really ought to be securing the 3 points.

To do so Appleton needs to get it right from the start. He may well opt to rotate the players slightly. However, the win is everything and given the our boys having only been playing one game a week of late they oughtn't need to be rested.

Tedic must be close to starting a game. If so, please God he doesn't start out wide like Myles has been! Watson L should start, why he didn't on Saturday is another mystery.

The 5th yellow card for May must come along soon and one hopes that Appleton has considered his striking options for when it does. Perhaps he may even try it at some stage in a game before he is forced to do so!

For a second successive match I can't find an opposition player with a Charlton connection so may be it isn't as common as I thought. However, Saturday's visitors definitely have one although whether he sets foot on the pitch is unknown as he hasn't featured in their last two games.

In the meantime let's secure the win against Exeter.

come On You Reds!



Friday 29 September 2023

Shrews Away!

The Addicks head off to the New Meadow tomorrow to play a Shrewsbury side that sit one place below us in the league having “enjoyed” a similar start to the season.

The Shrews have a minus 5 goal difference and it is to be hoped that come 6pm tomorrow (time added on and all that!) it will be even further in the negative.

Strangely I can’t see anyone in the current Shrews side that has a Charlton connection. There’s usually at least one in every team we play at this level.

Given Appleton’s start to his tenure and the recent results and improved performances allied to Shrewsbury’s poor form this is a game where we ought to be reasonably confident of a win. I’m thinking most of us will be really disappointed if we don’t.

The 3 points would help us to make a more significant move up the table. Then we might allow ourselves (well me anyway) a more optimistic take on this season’s prospects.

The players returning from injury have added a complication, in a good way, to team selection. I still feel we should go for a 4-4-2. For me, it’s a nonsense playing Leaburn out wide.

Myles has said all the right things in response to questions about being asked to out wide but I’m sure he’d rather be more central. Last week he naturally headed the ball forward on more than one occasion but to no one as rightly May was in the middle!

Before trying to turn Leaburn into a winger maybe we should look at doing so with players like Kirk!

Whatever formation we go for, I think it’s clear that Tennai has to start. I’d drop Hector and play either Ness or Abankwah alongside Jones.

There are plenty of midfield options especially if Taylor and/or Fraser are back in the mix.

The manger has shown that he isn’t afraid to make changes and that’s to be applauded and fortunately for him he has plenty of options to do so. What I’d like to see is him get it right from the word go so that we are not chasing a result.

I have to acknowledge that Appleton has had a better start than I expected and in general has come across well. A win tomorrow would further enhance that view across the wider fan base. If he can ally better performances to results then we can hopefully attendances rise and the announced figure being more in line with reality!

Come On You Reds!

Tuesday 26 September 2023

That's Better!

Saturday saw the Addicks overcome an in form Wycombe team with probably their best display of the season.

It wasn’t perfect of course as anyone who witnessed the first 20 to 25 minutes of the second half will testify. However, it was a lot better than what has gone before in previous games.

We started the game brightly, were on the front foot and got forward well. Overall CBT had a good game and one that was nicely rounded off by his goal where his run got the finish it deserved.

That first half dominance ought to have delivered more goals or at least scoring opportunities but sadly CBT was unable to produce a decent cross.

It’s a double-edged sword really because if he were able to consistently supply those crosses and make better decisions he wouldn’t be with us. As it is crunch time is looming with his contract due to run out soon and a number of clubs looking at him. Both the player and the club have a decision to make soon.

Having Leaburn, Tedic and Aneke now available makes a huge difference to our squad and the options within. Holden must have allowed himself a rueful smile when he saw the 18 players named at 2pm!

Appleton used the subs to good effect and Tedic and more notably Tennai had an immediate impact. Finally, we looked like we could attack down the right side of the pitch.

Watson’s debut augers well and he needs to stay in the team and ought to be starting games.

Right back is obviously not Abankwah’s bag and see no issue in playing him in central defence. He can do no worse than Hector who had another error strewn game. I was pleased to see him get hooked in the second half.

Prior to kick off and I wondered whether Isted would keep his place. Following his impression of a Tiller girl at Stevenage I wasn’t’ expecting he would. He did of course and despite claiming, in my view, some routine high balls in to the box, I wasn’t impressed.

Why there no attempt to stop the shot for Wycombe’s goal is a mystery. It was well struck and even if slightly unsighted I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect him to react in some way but there was nothing. I think his continued presence creates uncertainty. That really doesn’t help when one of two of our defenders look jittery enough!

Jones remains at the stand out defender. Thank God we’ve got him. He has been consistently good. We have hope he doesn’t get injured or suspended anytime soon.

I’d love to see us go to 4-4-2. I’m sure most managers love a more modern formation be it 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or whatever. However, you sometimes just have to accept that the ability of the players you have won’t allow you to do that.

At a minimum, two up front is a must for us. Having Leaburn out wide was silly and greatly lowered our attacking threat. The difference when Chuks came on and imposed himself was plain for all to see.

This is league one. It’s a more physical game. You only need to look at the table and see how a Steve Evans side is doing to know that! There’s nothing cultured about the football that his teams play.

Focusing on the positive it’s now 7 points from the last three games and that is a big improvement. The use of the whole squad is more like it and Appleton is obviously not afraid to get two or three on in one go.

The manager had another clear week to work on weak aspects of this squad. Hopefully, we can go and get a result at Shrewsbury and one that would see us make a more significant move up the table.

Friday 22 September 2023

Back To The Valley!

After what seems like an eternity, the Addicks return to home soil tomorrow to face possibly their toughest game to date. It’s not Crawley away but it’s up there!

The Chairboys are on a fine run of form following 3-0 reverse in their opening two leagues fixtures.

Wanderers legend took over the managerial reins in February when Gareth Ainsworth left for QPR. As can be seen from those recent results he is enjoying a good start to this season.

Up front they have wily old campaigner Sam Vokes and former Addick, Brandon Hanlan.

As far as we’re concerned Appleton has had another free week to work with the squad. Hopefully, he has been able to at least part way address some of the issues we’ve experienced to date.

I’d like to think we can look forward to a better organised defence, more inventive set pieces and a greater threat at the top end of the pitch.

In terms of our forward line then simply we ought to with two up top. I suspect we won’t but I do believe a 4-4-2 set up would suit us best. I don’t think we have the players to deploy anything else.

Aneke’s surprise appearance was a welcome boost last week and reminder of just how good he is when fit. I really hope he can stay injury free for some time however unlikely that seems.

Someone who will be missing soon and not due to injury, is Alfie May. I can’t see him getting through more than the next 2 or 3 games at best without getting his 5th yellow of the season.

Defensively, I’d opt for a central pairing of Jones and Abankwah. I’d also get Tennai Watson in at right back. He would help to the attacking intent that is sadly lacking on that side of the pitch.

I assume that neither Fraser or Camara will be back so the midfield options remain fairly limited. We may also be without Taylor too of course.

I am looking forward to this one as it will be a measure of where we are and an indication of what Appleton can do with this squad. There does need to be signs of improvement in the coming weeks or we can reasonably question the wisdom of replacing Holden with someone or equal or lesser ability.

Come On You Reds!