Friday, 5 February 2010

Next... Swindon away

Strangely Swindon have been on a great run recently, and are second, only to Norwich, in the form (6 games) table. That is, however, only half the story as they have nine wins and two draws in their last twelve games - 29 points out of a possible 36. We have managed just six wins and five draws - 23 out of 36.

Clearly their form is better than ours, but what is weird is that we are almost suicidal with our form where as Swindin are absolutely ecstatic. In fact, we looked like we were going to play them off the park at The Valley on Boxing Day, even with ten men when we scored. The end result, as we all know, is that even with nine men we managed to snatch a last gasp equaliser after they had failed to capitalise and only scored two goals in the second half.

Overall I think this season has been a success. The minimum we need is promotion. Anything else would be a complete disaster. We do need to be realistic though. Just because we need it doesn't make it easy, nor does it make it a foregone conclusion that we should achieve it.

I have been rather critical of both Parkinson and his appointment in the past. I have turned a leaf - in fact I did this some time ago - and now I think the team needs our support. I refused to go to Walsall because I felt cheated about the first game being cancelled when I was less than half an hour away. Swindon would have been a manageable journey, but it is my sister's birthday and despite the fact that all family occasions have had to take second fiddle to Charlton home games for years it is only fair that away games are sacrificed as a compromise.

Thus I will be listening on the radio, or most likely looking at my iPhone reading what can only be described as frustrating 'text commentary'.

I have been a little negative about Charlton recently. We have played poorly and for the first time in a long time we have still managed to get more than we deserved. Normally this would be celebration time, but when you fall to 11th in the form tables and you have been picking up points you shouldn't have it is time to worry. Tomorrow looks like a bonus to me. On the whole we are not expected to get much from the game. In fact the bookies have us as favourites to lose - not by much, but to lose. Thus any kind of revival will have double the effect.

Should we lose and it will be 'business as usual' for a team that is clearly in a sticky patch. Norwich look like they are going to run away with the title now. It's not only that they are winning and winning, but they have managed maximum points in a game that they were reduced to ten men in (with the score at 0-0 at the time) and they have now played two of their three games with their Captain and top scorer missing and have won them both too. Add to that the fact that they were not, after all, forced to sell any of their players in January, and I cannot see anyone getting close to them.

Leeds are, potentially, still catch able (as are Norwich, technically) but with their FA Cup exploits finished, and with Beckford still there I can see them picking up the required points to take second place. This is not a disaster, of course, we still have a strong squad, and if we are (as the table shows) the third best team in the division, we have as good (if not better) chance of winning the playoffs than the rest.

This all makes me sound uncharacteristically upbeat. Maybe I am, maybe I'm heading for a fall, but I would have taken sixth at the start of the season, even after we'd kept all our star midfielders. Sodje and Mooney bring something to the party. Sure they are limited players, and I'm not convinced either of them have much of a career ahead of them in the Championship or above, but that is not where we are, and it's not what we have to face for the next three months.

We clearly need Youga back, and that looks more worrying every week. It is clear that the initial estimate of ten days was way too optimistic, but I think Based is more than adequate, and once we have a winger that can provide some protection we will see him grow in stature and confidence.

Despite all of the confidence and optimum I am going to go for a defeat tomorrow. My repeated suggestions that we are going to win have hardly helped in recent weeks, so what do I have to lose. If we win I'll be more than pleased and if we lose I'll be right.

This game is actually quite important in some ways, but if we are not going to make the top two it doesn't actually matter if Swindon finish above us or not - as long as we are in the top six.

I'll probably take a draw tomorrow, but a win would be a real bonus.

Up the Addicks!

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