From Welling to Bury

Another year goes by. Once again we have the opportunity to disinter the wonderful phrase "traditional pre-season curtain raiser" as Charlton begin their preparations for League One with a trip to Park View Road, Welling on Saturday.

Both clubs suffered ignominious relegation last season. While Charlton fans may shudder at the thought of playing Fleetwood, Wimbledon and Scunthorpe next season, fans of The Wings will be scaling the heights of Weston Super Mare, St Albans and Truro in The Vanarama National League South. Nevertheless, under the new management of Mark Goldberg and Damien Matthew, the Welling squad will be keen to make an impression.

Charlton are likely to field a different team in each half in a game which is rarely little more than an enhanced training session. It should however provide an opportunity for a first sighting of new signings Lee Novak, Ricky Holmes and Nicky Ajose. The latter -  who has made no secret of his enthusiasm about joining Charlton - could become a popular figure among supporters if he can reproduce the goalscoring form he showed at Swindon last season. There will also be opportunities for members of the under-21 squad to catch the eye and there are usually one or two trialists on display. The celebrated Welling PA system usually manages to obscure their identity very efficiently.

An offer from Burnley has apparently been accepted for Johann Berg Gudmundsson. It seems likely that Jordan Cousins will also be on his way if the club's valuation can be met. It is hard to believe that Jorge Teixeira will be with us for much longer. There will also be heartbreak at the recent news that George Tucudean will not be featuring this season but, for the moment at least, Patrick Bauer, Ahmed Kashi and Alou Diarra are still with the club. These are players who would grace League One but we can assume that there will be further changes before the season kicks off on August 6th. A strengthening at centre back is urgently required.

Watch out this season for El-Hadji Ba. There is without doubt a good footballer in him and, at one level lower, I confidently predict that his languid style will provide the creativity we need. He will still get caught in possession from time to time but this will be balanced by good use of the ball most of the time. He will have hero status by Christmas. Remember, you heard it here first.