After two terrible performances and results Mark Kinsella takes his manager and his players to the home of the team that have been top of the table for just about all season, another potential hammering, but also another opportunity for them to claw back some credibility and respect on our way to an almost certain relegation.
Wolves have, at times, looked like they were untouchable in this division. A fantastic achievement for a team that hasn't seen either Premier League football or the subsequent parachute payments for many seasons. I have always had a bit of a resentment for Mick McCarthy due to his Millwall connections, but you can't doubt his ability. What he achieved at The New Den, along with Sunderland and Wolves means that you have to admire him, even if you don't want to. I haven't even mentioned his success with the Republic of Ireland, something that could have ended much better had the disagreement with Roy Keane not happened.
All that is, however, in McCarthy's past. He was rumoured to be on the way out of Wolves last season, and despite surviving that scare he still failed to make the playoffs and with the (reported) money they have to spend this could well have been his last season - it may still be, of course. Thus McCarthy is under some pressure having seen a lead of nine points to 3rd placed Birmingham reduced to 3 points, with a lead over now 3rd placed Reading of 7 points, having played two games more.
Thus this is a bit of a must-win game for McCarthy's Wolves, especially when you consider that we are bottom of the league and have only won three games since the Second World War. Seriously though we have only won 13 league games since the end of the January Transfer Window in 2008. Thus we have won 13 games out of a total of 54 played. That's more than four games per win. I would suggest that puts Wolves under pressure if they fail to beat us at home.
That could even work to our advantage. Despite Mark Kinsella's refusal to throw in the towel (nothing less than I would have expected from him to be honest) it is likely that our season will effectively be over before that of our hosts tomorrow, so that should put all the pressure on the home side. It is interesting to note that despite his confidence (or was that arrogance) Pardew's teams always seemed to fall short when the pressure was on him and his players. Maybe that has been eradicated, but I would guess that it is difficult to change that mid season, so we should see more relaxed play from our boys now. It is quite possible that this is why we performed better at Reading. This could also be a chink in Wolves armour.
After their start Wolves now have it all to lose, and from recent results it looks like that is exactly what they are trying to do.
Either way I, again, have little real interest in the result of this game. I have no friends that are Wolves fans, and the one that I did have a few years ago is a nice chap and I would be happy for his team to do well. Clearly if we get some sort of result and the other teams in the dog fight all lose it might just open the door for the hope to creep back in. As I have little doubt as to the eventual conclusion of this season I am happy to do without that to be honest. I also have little interest in this division if we are not going to be in it next season. Thus it matters little to me which teams are going to be up there chasing promotion to the Premier League in 2010.
All in all this must be seen as an opportunity to change some of the minds of those season ticket holders that are not all that inclined to renew in May. To be honest I have changed my mind several times, and will probably do so again. What I am sure of is that I am Charlton and always will be. There is absolutely no chance that I will ever be anything else. The question is what type of Charlton fan am I going to be? Am I going to be someone that goes to all the games, buys all the shirts, reads all the blogs, searches all the rumour sites and talks about us all the time to friends? Or am I going to be one of those fans that normally (but not always) watches us on the highlight programs, tunes in after full time on a Saturday to see the results and comes to the 'big' three or four games a season?
Time will tell, but if Mark Kinsella's team (or his current manager) are going to convince me (and others) to commit for another 46 games irrespective as to how rubbish (or good) we are, there is no better time to start trying to do that than the present.
Up the Addicks!