Many Fans will be pleased to see sunshine is forecast for this Saturday's match. The games are coming thick and fast, the new season is well under way. Well, for most teams that is. Almost a month of the season played now and the Addicks are still searching for their first league win of the campaign, and now a game in hand to deal with still that may be a blessing. He’ll be hoping his Addicks side can repeat the feat of securing their first league win against Leicester as the Foxes visit the Valley.
An impressive ten points from a possible twelve has put Nigel Pearson’s men firmly among the pace setters this season and winning at away at an out-of-form side is in all honesty where Leicester should be picking up wins if they’re to have hopes of clinching promotion at the end of the season.
It’s been a more than bizarre build up to this game for Charlton. After last weekend’s farce against Doncaster was halted at half-time, Huddersfield triumphed in the Capital One Cup after the Addicks took the lead twice. Six goals conceded in 135 minutes of football with have not pleased the manager and the coming weeks may be more a case of steadying the defensive ship rather than gung-ho attacking play, looking to score one more than the opposition manage.
With that in mind, Chris Powell may opt for a five man midfield for the first team this season in which three central midfielders should offer the nervous back-line more protection against the attacking prowess of the Foxes. Alternatively, the Addicks may adopt the 3-5-2 formation that served them well in midweek (until the final fifteen minutes) but perhaps such a radical change in approach early in the season may be too big a step at this stage.
For the Addicks, I would expect the back five to keep their places in the starting line-up from last weekend’s abandoned match. In midfield, if Powell does opt for five, I suspect Harriott will hug the left wing with Pritchard hurries up and down the right. In the centre, you could pick any three names of six or seven out of a hat and still be as likely to correctly predict the line up. I expect Jackson will come in, should he be fit to last 90 minutes while Jordan Cousins would be bitterly disappointed if he lost his place. Alongside them, any one of Gower, Hughes, Stephens or Dervite could complete the line-up.
Should he opt for a midfield five, Powell has the headache of choosing just a single forward. If 4-4-2 prevails, to choose Kermorgant and Church may appear fairly straightforward (although Marvin Sordell may argue his midweek volley may justify him a claim to a place). With the possibility of only one place for a striker however, will the gaffer choose the off-colour-of-late fan favourite or the fresher, livelier Church who has three (four if you count Doncaster) goals to his name already?
Looking to the opposition, Nigel Pearson has already used two or three different formations this season already, with much success in all areas. That said, there are a few Foxes players who should be guaranteed of a starting place regardless of formation. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel holds the number one shirt, while captain Wes Morgan will join Man Utd academy graduate Ritchie De Laet in defence.
Andy King will be a threat breaking from midfield, while David Nugent and Chris Wood will be fighting for the headlines at the top of the pitch.
It’ll be a lot for the Addicks to handle this weekend and with the way the season has gone so far this season, I can’t see us managing this weekend here. 2-1 to the Foxes.
A view from the Oppo
Kindly provided by tomorrow's opposition Leicester City supporters' group the Foxes Trust
Name: Ian Bason
Current home town: Leicester
How long have you supported your team? I attended my first game before I was born (poor view though), so you could say all 52 years
Overview of your club:
Favourite thing about your home ground: Filbert Street had the history, so is where the heart rests with fans my age. There are a number of grounds built around the period ours went up (just over 10 years ago), there isn’t a poor view wherever you sit, however my pre-match routine still includes looking at the brick featuring my parents, which is where my life long support all comes from.
Favourite match played by your team & why: Strangely it is a game we lost, which optimises being a football fan. The 1993 Play Off Final against Swindon, feeling the dejection of being 3 – 0 down and another failed promotion bid beckoning, only to storm back to 3 – 3. The elation when the third went in was probably the highest I’ve ever felt, only to then be cruelly robbed by a dodgy penalty, and bump back to square one.
Favourite player of all time who played for your club: Despite the League Cup success under Martin O’Neill, the most enjoyable period for me was the entertaining football witnessed during the Jimmy Bloomfield era in the 70’s. At that time, Frank Worthington was my hero, and it really was worth turning up to watch the pre-match warm up, where Frank displayed all his tricks.
About our forthcoming match against you:
Your favourite current player in your squad and why? I don’t think I’ve had a favourite player for many years, I judge each player on their recent form. Currently I’m delighted that defender Liam Moore (who has come through the Academy and has a Leicestershire background) has started the season in the first team and given several outstanding displays, hopefully he can make the starting spot his own now.
Player in your squad we should most fear and why? It depends which formation Nigel Pearson chooses for this game. The most natural finishers at the club are David Nugent and Andy King, however Jamie Vardy has made a good start to this season, while Chris Wood’s midweek hat trick, may now see him go on a scoring run, that’s 4 players for your defence to worry about !
Player in our squad you most fear and why? It’s a case of ex-player coming back to haunt you with Yann. While our fans still want a local bylaw passing banning Frenchmen with a surname starting with K being prohibited from taking penalties, from what I understand Yann had a good season for you last year, doing consistently for you, what we only saw in flashes when he was our player. The fact Chris Powell wanted him tells me enough about his abilities
Up and coming prospect in your squad? With Liam Moore hopefully established, the next question is whether Jeff Schlupp can force a regular starting place, but it would help if we knew whether his position of destiny is striker (his “natural” position) left back/wing back (where he has played so far when picked this season) or if we play 442, wide left. I’m not sure anyone knows the answer. The other player coming through the Academy with rave reviews, but yet to make his first team debut is midfielder Michael Cain, I hoping to watch him in an U21 game soon.
Where do you think you’ll finish this season? There is no doubt we could hardly have made a better start to this season results wise, yet we haven’t played well in many games, so picking up 3 points when not at the top of our game is a good sign.
There was much gloom before the season started, with only one out of contract signing, as Financial Fair Play limits have bitten us harder than most, it takes some adjustment in 2 seasons to get from an owner funded £29m loss, to the £8m limit for this season, but then talking to other clubs fans, many were equally pessimistic with the lack of squad strengthening.
Certainly I would be dis-appointed if we didn’t make the Play Offs, but way too early to call who is likely to grab the automatic spots.
How do you think you’ll do against us? One advantage you do have, is Chris Powell having worked for Nigel Pearson knows his methods, and Chris is an astute guy, however so far we have won all our away games, so while that can’t go on for ever, it would be good to finish the month with that record intact and I think we are capable.
Any other comments? I can’t speak highly enough of Chris Powell, he did a Q & A at the Foxes Trust AGM several seasons ago and his insight into the game was way beyond a series of managers that have spoken at our AGM’s as the revolving door continued to turn. One day I hope he becomes our manager.