Charlton take on Birmingham at the Valley tomorrow after taking 4 points off top sides once again
But before I dive into a Championship Football preview, my thoughts are cast elsewhere.
I would like to dedicate this moment to the memory of former Charlton striker David Whyte - who's funeral is today.
Like all too many displays of talents in this world, David's career was a brief one for Charlton. What he did however in the short period was offer his gift, the beauty of his craft, and brought huge enjoyment to many in doing what he seemed to love most - scoring goals.
That his life has been cut short is an undoubted tragedy. While we may reflect on that and the briefness of our existence generally on this earth, we can also offer thanks to David for the gift that he gave us. He made that brief part of all our lives that much better through the enjoyment of watching him play, and sharing his joy at scoring - surely one of the greatest pleasures in life.
Thank you David
Charlton Athletic vs Birmingham City
In the last preview for Boro which also included a break down of the season so far, we talked about the first ten games defining this part of Charlton's season with possibly a hint of the future; even comparing the defensive solidity to the successful period of the Powell era. Charlton almost unceasingly managed to close the door on some good sides back then, and snatched goals here and there in a Marathon season that proved highly successful.
Of course its too early to say anything like that but the signs are good, there are foundations in this side, which well resourced as Powell's first side was, including the early addition of a top striker (Bradley Wright-Philips vs Igor Vetokele), and a large influx of players in and out, might be accused (in a complimentary way of course) of following the same text book approach - despite the architects of both campaigns seemingly not coexisting.
The refusal to surrender at home against Boro and smash and grab at Norwich who now sit top, have propelled the Addicks upwards into sixth place only two points off first place, maintaining an unbeaten run only equalled by Forest who have slipped to second. The top part of the table is as follows.
- Norwich 20/ 11
- Forest 20/ 10
- Watford 20/ 8
- Derby 19/ 9
- Ipswich 18/ 6
- Charlton 18/ 4
All the more impressive about Charlton is the number of teams in that group the Addicks have done well against.
Despite an excellent unbeaten record, one concern is perhaps a reliance on defence evidenced by the goals scored and conceded columns which show Charlton have been scoring less than their counterparts, perhaps a wasted opportunity in a thin forward line, or perhaps a victim of injuries, or even just an area to work on a bit.
With this reliance on the back four perhaps not such great news then is the the Addicks will face Birmingham without Tal Ben-Haim who is absent for the most important day in the Jewish calendar Yom Kippur. This will give Peeters a chance to put Michael Morrison back in the fold, with Gomez unlikely after a knock at Carrow Road. Also taking the toll of the 10 game unbeaten run is Gudmonssen, but Solly is expected to play.
Having flirted with relegation last season the Blues lives to fight another day. They currently sit 20th with 10 points and -6 goal difference. Their defensive line up will be missing former American Addick John Spector, whether that is a good or bad thing I will leave you to decide, however 8 points between the two clubs tells a story of a tight league with no room for complacency. Men to watch are their two strikers on 3 a piece in the form of Donaldson and Thomas.
The ressurgent Jackson might bring hope to the Addicks as might their form against top placed sides, but as mentioned above, complacency and the distortion of an early league table may be the real enemy tomorrow.