West Brom – Hemed’s moment at last?

Last week's FA Cup match with West Bromwich Albion has no relevance at all in assessing the Championship encounter coming up this Saturday. The Baggies made eleven changes to their team for the Cup game and, from Charlton's starting line up, it is likely that only Phillips, Sarr and Green will be on the pitch at 3pm.

The visitors will be able to call on a number of star players who will have benefited from an extra week's rest. Goal scorer Zohore (£8m from Cardiff) may well be on the bench alongside Charlie Austin as Matt Phillips and Brazilian Costa Pereira return. Welsh international Hal Robson-Kanu and England international Jake Livermore are also likely to be in the starting eleven, not to mention Croation Filip Krovinovic (on loan from Benfica) and former Charlton youth player Semi Ajayi (four goals already this season). West Ham loanee Grady Diangana and former Arsenal full-back Kieran Gibbs were also missing from the cup game but could return.

Despite this strength in depth, Albion's League form recently has been far from impressive. Since demolishing Swansea 5-1 on December 8th they have won only one of six games (3-2 at Birmingham). They went to relegation threatened Wigan and Barnsley and only managed 1-1 draws. They were held 1-1 by Brentford at The Hawthorns and, although they gained a creditable 1-1 with Leeds last time out, they also lost 0-2 at home to Middlesboro at the end of December. That defeat was only their second of the season. The previous one was at Leeds in October.

The Addicks will be strengthened by the returns of the likes of Tom Lockyer, Conor Gallagher, Darren Pratley plus Jonny Williams and Tomer Hemed (and maybe Chuks Aneke) on the bench, but will still be without Lyle Taylor and Macauley Bonne so goal scoring may be a problem. Could Saturday be the day when Tomer Hemed finally ends his drought?

Charlton only have one more game (Preston on 18th January) before the transfer window closes but next month they have games against four of their rivals (Barnsley, Stoke, Luton and Huddersfield). Gaining at least a point against West Brom would be terrific but far more important will be how the club performs in bringing in reinforcements over the next few weeks and how many of the current injured players can come back in time for those February six pointers.

There should be a great atmosphere for this game with many fans returning to celebrate Duchatelet's departure and to welcome the new era of East Street Investments. We urge everyone to get on down to The Valley and show the new owners how much you care.