Welcome back to SE7 for the first home League Fixture this season
The new season is now getting into it’s swing. A full round of League fixtures and the first round of the League Cup have played and the majority of club’s squads should be ready to tackle the forty-five game rollercoaster that is sure follow. The second step of forty-six comes this weekend at the Valley when Tony Mowbray’s ‘Boro come to SE7 to take on the Addicks.
An under pressure man, Mowbray’s side have only won three games during the current calendar and although the fresh start of a new season has given the ‘Boro legend some breathing space with chairman Steve Gibson, the fans will be looking for a quick change in fortunes (or manager), else their promotion challenge could be over before it began.
With a disappointing home defeat to Leicester and being dumped out of the League Cup by Accrington, this weekend’s away side will desperate to grab their first points of the season.
In the home dugout, Chris Powell will be feeling less pressure but that doesn’t mean he won’t want to see his team’s first league win. In contrast to ‘Boro, the Addicks’ strong end of season run almost stole them a play-off place and while the loss to Bournemouth last weekend wasn’t the ideal start, a strong showing against Oxford has shown a strength-in-depth to the squad and has left plenty of selection headaches.
Ben Hamer was the only player to start both competitive matches this season and is expected to retain his place in goal despite taking a knock towards the Oxford game. In front of him, it will be all change, we’re likely to revert back to the back four that played at Dean Court with all three of Cort, Wood and Evina unlucky to lose their place.
It’s in the front six where the headaches lie. A Gower/Hughes combination didn’t pay off last weekend but with captain Johnnie Jackson likely to return, a Jackson for Hughes swap is likely. Whether Dale Stephens or Danny Hollands showed enough in midweek to oust Mark Gower remains to be seen. Callum Harriott, being our only out-and-out left wing option, will retain his place from last weekend. Pritchard’s place on the right is up for grabs however, we expect Danny Green to take the jersey ahead of Lawrie Wilson.
Up front, Yann Kermorgant is certain to be picked. His partner last weekend, Marvin Sordell may feel unlucky to be dropped but we could see Simon Church start up front with the big Frenchman following his two well taken goals in the cup.
Lukas Jutkiewicz looks likely to lead the line for the away side with Mustapha Carayol and possibly Albert Adomah (should his move be completed in time) likely to supply dangerous crosses from either wing. Elsewhere in the side, ex-Addick Frazer Richardson could join Jonathan Woodgate in the opposition defence.
Middlesbrough’s 2013 form means it would be easy to take this game lightly but with quality running through their side, all three results are possible. Saying that, Charlton are firm favourite with the bookies and we should be confident of taking our first three points of the coming season.
Across the Championship, the two relegated sides in action face their first away games of the league season as Reading travel to Dougie Freedman’s Bolton, whilst Harry Redknapp and co. travel north to Yorkshire, hoping to come back with three points from Huddersfield Town. Promoted Yeovil will host Birmingham for their first home game in the second tier, while Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth play away at beaten play-off finalists Watford.
Other fixtures of interest include Forest’s trip to Blackburn Rovers, Brighton and Derby’s clash at the AMEX Community Stadium and Millwall travel to Mick McCarthy’s new look Ipswich team hoping for their first points of the season following disappointing defeat at the hands of Yeovil on the opening day. On Sunday Brian McDermott takes his Leeds side to the King Power stadium to face Leicester. Both teams will be looking to continue their 100% starts to the season.
With early points on the board being of paramount importance, a win this weekend will make sure Charlton aren’t cut too far adrift of the pacesetters after just two games. The thing with football is, everyone is thinking the same! Let’s hope the Addicks can give us reason to live, love, laugh and be happy this weekend. COYR