Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Next... QPR away

With the benefit of another 24 hours to digest what has happened, and the signing of Keith Gillespie, which we've been assured was Parkinson's signing, I am feeling a bit more upbeat about tonight's game.

If you assume that we would probably have lost tonight and on Saturday if Pardew had stayed in charge then we have two potential 'bonus balls' as Curbishley used to call them. He was referring, of course, to Man Utd and Arsenal away, but the principle is the same. I have long believed that, despite the weaknesses of the players in our care, we are a much better side with more confidence. It's an ironic truism that you need confidence to win games, and you need to win games to build confidence. It often only takes the slightest bit of luck and that spiral can change. As New York Addick suggested, one of those moments occurred when Varney failed to score a winner at home to Burnley, the potential of which could mean the end of his career with us. Another one was the flapping of Perez before Richard Rufus scored his first goal for us.

With luck (sorry) we will get a bit of luck tonight. It may be a goal line clearance, it may be a suspect refereeing decision, but if we can come away from Loftus Road with either a point or a clean sheet (I know that latter guarantees the former), we could get that lift for Saturday. I am happy to accept that we probably need more on Saturday than tonight, but both games provide a chance to increase our points total, and more importantly our confidence.

Parkinson has already said in his press conference that all he is focusing on is QPR. I am not a fan of football cliches, but they only exist because they are so right. His financial future is probably safe for now, and his long term reputation will be unharmed if he is in charge of us for a short period with limited success. So we all have little to lose.

In the event that Parkinson can motivate (or get lucky with) the squad and pick up some points I am more than happy to have him in situ for the rest of the season. I would even be happy to give him a season to see what he can do with time. My only caveat is that a permanent replacement needs to be ready to come in if it transpires by the middle of next month that our fortunes are not going to improve.

A week is a long time in football and by Saturday evening we could find ourselves three and four points above two of the teams we are currently chasing. We could also find ourselves eight and nine behind them. It is worth noting that despite going to Bristol City tonight, Watford entertain Doncaster on Saturday, so they are likely to get something this week.

I managed just once to accurately predict Pardew's team selection in 23 months, so I doubt I will get anywhere near tonight, but if we assume that Gillespie is going to play, Sam is likely to be dropped. Sometimes Lloyd Sam looks like he is really going to make it, then other times he looks like he is never going to. I would suggest that the next ten games are not going to be for the faint hearted, or the inconsistent. I would rather see a limited player that you can rely on 100% than an enigma. Sadly, I have little idea what many of the players we has signed can offer with an extended run in the side. Izale McLeod's video on You Tube when we signed him made him look like the next Darren Bent. In sixteen months he has made just 8 starts; Racon has in the same time made 5 starts, Todorov, the player that Pardew claimed we missed last season has made 7. It is conceivable that all of that trio could play in the same team, they may even be the best three players we have.

I am well past blaming anyone for the situation we find ourselves in, but Parkinson may well have some experimenting to do of his own. Clearly he has seen the players in training, but I doubt that is as telling as a run of ten games in the first team. This leaves us back where I started. We need to rely on luck for the next few games. Parkinson needs time, the players need confidence, I need a few good nights sleep, and the points total needs to be increased. In all fairness we haven't had a lot of luck recently, so if it is true that luck evens itself out over the season could we have half a season's worth in the next three games please?

There are a number of problems facing our club at the moment. They all need to be addressed at some point, but for now let's just concentrate on picking up a few points and a bit of confidence. If we can do that I have a feeling that the rest will all start to seem a lot easier to solve.

Either way I hope that those that travel to Loftus Road tonight get to see a decent game and a winning start to a new era.

Having said that, I'd take a point, defo for sure if it comes with a clean sheet.

Up the Addicks!

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