Saturday sees Charlton Athletic take on Nottingham Forest at The Valley on the back of impressive wins for both teams in midweek.
Goals from the former Foxes’ man (and fast becoming cult figure at Charlton) Yann Kermorgant; and the quick footed Danny Haynes, sealed a magnificent 7th away win of the season for The Addicks against Leicester City, and lifted them into 12th place – albeit for 24 hours.
Nottingham Forest are sure to be enjoying life back under Billy Davies. He guided them to a 6-1 thumping over Huddersfield Town Tuesday night.
Charlton’s terrific away run has unfortunately not been mirrored at home this season. Just one Saturday victory at The Valley all season has left most fans frustrated that the team’s away successes haven’t been duplicated at home.
The last Valley outing against Birmingham saw Charlton take an 88th minute lead through cult hero Yann Kermorgant. Addicks fans surely thought that goal would be enough to snatch all three points, especially after throwing away leads in their last two games against Sheffield Wednesday and Crystal Palace. The Blues had other ideas, and despite being unambitious for most of the match, they snatched an unlikely draw through Wade Elliott in the last minute of injury-time.
That draw was followed by a 1-0 away defeat last Saturday to Hull City, meaning the Leicester victory was Charlton’s first in 5 league games. The 43-point tally will mean Chris Powell’s men edge even closer to that 50 mark that usually ensures Championship survival.
Despite being just 2 points ahead of The Addicks, Nottingham Forest will have their sights set a little higher towards the play-offs. 6 points stand between them and the stuttering Middlesbrough in 6th place, so victory at The Valley on Saturday would keep the pressure firmly on.
A couple of familiar faces will be in making their way into the visiting dressing room this weekend. Most notably, former Charlton Captain Andy Reid. Sold to Sunderland in January 2008, many Charlton fans will argue that caused a big hinder to their push for an instant return to the Premier League following relegation the previous summer. Hopefully the popular playmaker is not too big for Chris Solly's pint sized pockets. The other player who used to wear the red and white of Charlton was Greg Halford. He made a loan move from the opposite direction of Sunderland as a part of the Andy Reid transfer. The defender netted twice during his spell against promotion favourites West Brom and Wolves.
If Forest are to take maximum points from SE7 Saturday, they will need to end a dismal run that has seen them fail to win in any of their last 7 travels away from West Bridgford. Their last victory on the road was a 2-1 win at Wolves’ Molinuex back in late November.
The last time these two teams met was at The City Ground back in September. A long-range free-kick from Lewis McGugan and a neat finish from Sam Hutchison either side of the half condemned Charlton to their first defeat of the season, despite Ricardo Fuller forcing Forest Goalkeeper Lee Camp into a late own goal making the full-time score 2-1 to the home side.
You would have to cast your mind back to a miserable January afternoon back in 2009 when these two teams last met at The Valley. Both teams were scrapping it out at the wrong end of the Championship table, but goals from Nathan Tyson and Robert Earnshaw left Charlton a record 18 games without victory and League One football looking a certainty.
If that was a long trip down memory lane, you would have to go all the way back to January 2000 for Charlton’s last victory over Nottingham Forest. The first game of the new millennium saw The Addicks comfortably win 3-0 in their quest to return to the Premier League as Champions. Greg Shields, Graham Stuart and Andy Hunt all made the score sheet that day.
Team-wise, Chris Powell may be forced into at least one change to the team that won at The King Power Stadium on Tuesday Night. Danny Haynes’ wondergoal with his first touch after coming on as a substitute for Dorian Dervite might give the Charlton Manager some food for thought. Rhoys Wiggins made his first full appearance since September after injury. His solid display may keep him in the starting XI. Also, Scott Wagstaff and Bradley Pritchard may also retain their places after excellent displays.
Billy Davies looks set to name an unchanged side after Forest’s magnificent victory Tuesday Night. Radoslaw Majewski scored a first-half hat-trick and will be certainly the one-to-watch for the Charlton defence. Former Millwall star Darius Henderson was also on target in midweek and will certainly be an unpopular threat to The Valley faithful.
(This is a trial of CAS Trust guest preview and match report contributions)
(Graphic by Stig)