On Friday evening Charlton play their last pre-season game by travelling to Holland to face Dutch team FC Utrecht. For those of an historical bent, and lets hope we see one of those on view, Utrecht is more famous for the hosting of the conference in 1713 that produced the famous "Treaty of Utrecht" signed at the end of the Spanish War of Succesion leading to the cession by Spain of Gibraltar to Great Britain.
More recent history tells us that, like our previous Belgium opponents Germinal Beerscholt, FC Utrecht is a club formed by an amalgamation when in 1970 there was a merger of three clubs from the city of Utrecht: DOS, Elinkwijk and Velox. One of the three clubs, DOS, managed to win the league in 1958 and FC Utrecht recently won the Dutch Cup in 2004 and then beat Ajax 4-2 in their version of the Charity Shield.
They finished 6th in the Eredivisie (First Division) last season after 11th place in 2004-05. Last season they lost both games against Champions PSV but did the double over Ajax and beat 3rd placed Feyenoord at home. But like the Addicks they seem to have a few problems towards the end of the season and not only lost their last three games of the regular season but then compounded their misery by losing both Play-off games, deciding who plays in Europe, to lower-placed opposition FC Twente.
After Charlton's slightly unexpected victory on Tuesday 2-1 against Germinal Beerscholt with a combination of first-teamers, bench-warmers and triallists, we can only expect that Monica ( sorry, Addicks Head Coach Iain Dowie) has again done his homework and will field a team to get a result against a stronger Dutch side. Not that a result will be paramount in his mind. As he has demostrated in all the pre-season games his priority has been to have a good look at all his players, even the youngsters, and to arrive at West Ham with his best team fit and ready to go.
Perhaps the high proportion of away pre-season games is an indication of his willingness to sort things out without the inconvenience of trying to satisfy home fans. In any event I'm sure he arrives in Holland in a more secure frame of mind with this weeks three signings under his belt. As far as the fans are concerned, although there have been some concern voiced about the first two signings, its been obvious that everyone is very relieved that new bodies have finally arrived.
As for fridays team - its not clear if Bolanos has yet received his work permit and as he has been back to Costa Rica this week to bring his family to England it has to be doubtful that he will play. However, if travel problems can be resolved after Thursdays terrorist threat its expected that both new signings Djimi Traore and Amady Faye will feature in some part in the game.
There's been no more news on the still vacant Number 1 shirt since early this week when Andreas Isaksson was reported as saying he's reached an agreement with Charlton but is awaiting to hear what Man. City have to say although City were then rumoured to be chasing the West Brom Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak who signed for Man Utd yesterday. So confusion reigns.
Apart from Tuesdays game against Germinal Beerscholt, where the team had a distinctly reserve feel to it, Myhre has started every game between the sticks and the defence will probably be the usual first-choice Young, El Karkouri, Hermann and Ashton, before Traore takes his place in the second half. Matt Holland and Hughes will be holding midfield together although Kish may feature in the first half before giving way to his obvious replacement Amady Faye. There's been no more news on spanish midfielder Farinos since he played the second half on Tuesday so its possible that with the arrival of 2 new midfielders this week he not be seen again.
Rommedahl, who returns to the country where he spent 6 successful years with PSV and will be keen to show what they are missing, seems a fixture on the right with Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink enjoying an appearance in his home country alongside Darren Bent or namesake Marcus. So an attacking 4-4-2 seems on the cards with the left wide position probably filled by Darren Ambrose in the absence of Jerome Thomas and new signing Bolanos.