There was a gap in the Championship schedule last week as World Cup play-off matches, as well as international friendlies, were contested around the globe.
For followers of the Three Lions, two losses from two uninspiring Wembley games have left everyone eager to get back to club football.
The Addicks really couldn’t have asked for a tougher game this coming weekend as a trip to Loftus Road looms. A big spending and ambitious outfit, Harry Redknapp’s Hoops have been referred to by their multi-million pound owner Tony Fernandes as a ‘brand’, surmising most of what the average football fan despises following the riches of recent times.
The Hoops spending power (Charlie Austin costing a reported £4m alone this summer) has seen them among the pace setters in this season’s Championship but with only one win in their last five games, could the penniless Addicks be visiting Loftus Road at just the right time in the season?
By contrast, Charlton will be looking to put the McCormack episode behind them as they try to build on the clean sheets accumulated in the four games previous. With last season’s impressive away record beginning to carry over into this one, the squad should be feeling confident and ready to keep quiet an undercooked QPR side.
Changes in the XI are expected after a more attacking line-up conceded four goals against Leeds and with this weekend’s match being hosted away from the Valley, the 1,800 travelling Addicks should expect a return to personnel that saw impressive victories at both Blackburn and Birmingham. The obvious change would see Bradley Pritchard come in for one of Callum Harriott or Cameron Stewart. It might still be too soon for the defensive trio of Chris Solly, Leon Cort and Richard Wood to make returns to the matchday squad.
The only other headache facing Chris Powell is whether to include Yann Kermorgant or Simon Church in the starting eleven. Yann managed thirty minutes just over two weeks ago and by now should be back to full fitness but would a decision to drop Simon Church after his recent impressive performances for club and country be wise? One way to accommodate both players would be to play Simon Church wide rather than a typical winger but is this game one to be fitting square pegs into round holes?
On TV this weekend, Doncaster host Yeovil in a battle of the two promoted sides on Friday evening. Saturday’s early kick-off features two Yorkshire sides in Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield. Coincidentally, these two were promoted from League One (alongside the Addicks) the season before.
Of the remaining 3pm kick offs, Burnley’s trip to the City Ground has to be the pick. The league leading Clarets are hosted by 5th placed Forest and it’s sure to be a cracking match.
Although our confidence from past away performances will count for much this weekend, QPR will be difficult to contain. With players such as Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips able to produce moments of magic with such regularity at this level, I can see a home win by a single goal. CM