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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

25 of 38 - Bolton Wanderers (away)

So our second trip of the season into the Forbidden Zone of the North-West after our 3-2 defeat to Wigan in November. We haven't won up there since January 22nd 2005 when a screamer from Matt Holland gave us the 3 points at Everton. Was that the last time he scored, you're asking? No, it wasn't in fact, 'cause he scored again at Goodison last season in our 3-1 defeat and again in our 4-2 win at Sheff. Wednesday in the FA Cup in January last year. Anyway, looking at our last eight games in Lancashire we've lost 7 of them, including the last two at Bolton, 4-1 both times.

And, although I doubt if he's reading this, Monica wouldn't forget our last visit up there as it was the end of a short era, the Wigan game proving to be his last in charge of the Addicks. Someone at the back has just croaked up with a "We should go there more often then" and he's about to get his wish because 6 of our remaining 7 away fixtures are in that dark depressing place.

And maybe we shouldn't entirely blame the players for the bad results up there. For people from the Smoke its an pretty intimidating place. Every time I go there I can't wait to leave 'cause everything that can go wrong does. Car broken into, parking tickets, always raining and you can't understand a word that the flat caps are saying. Although somehow the kids do make themselves understood with a clearly discernible, "Watch over your car? Mister"..

Anyway, I suppose we better talk about Bolton.

Not Very Good

Having played them a massive 72 times in the League, proving they're no great shakes after all, we can hang our head in shame 'cause we're lost to 'em 37 times and only beaten them 24 times. We did have our own 4-1 victory, back in May 1983 but that was at the Valley when we had to win to make sure we weren't relegated to Division 3! We promptly won, after going a goal down, to sent Bolton themselves down. But visits to Bolton have been a bit different - even in that season 1982-83 when Bolton finished bottom of the old Division Two they beat us at Burnden Park by the usual score of 4-1!

The score at Bolton's place is the Addicks a meagre 5 victories and Bolton a rather lucky 26 with 5 draws in there somewhere. And if you look at the last 25 years, we been there 11 times and only won twice, in a period where we're suffered no less than four 4-1 defeats and a 5-1 back in 1994-5. Not a happy venue for the Addicks.

The Opponents
They havn't won at all in 2007

Yes, its true - in 2007 the Trotters, otherwise known at "the whippet fanciers", haven't started the New Year on a high, their last win being on December 30th. Unfortunately, only three teams have won at the Reebok this season, Chelski by 1-0 and 4-0 Manure winners, but rather strangely Wigan has to be added to the list with a1-0 win. But Bolton have turned over the Arse and Liverpool and obviously feel that now all their tough home games are over. Remember though that the Addicks already have the "double" over them this season with 2 wins at the Valley being recorded and without a goal conceded.

They've got a couple of old-timers in their squad, namely Speed and Campo. On December 9th 2006 37 year old Gary Speed played in Bolton's 4-0 victory over West Ham United. In doing so he became the first player in the history of the Premiership to play 500 games. Ivan Campo is 32 and has been around a bit over in Spain even turning out for a season at Charlton's Spanish twin side Valladolid. But if you're expecting them to be a bit leg-weary after their game on Sunday, you can think again. The last time they had 3 days between games was over Christmas and both of them played the full 90 minutes in both games, which they won..

Which really demonstrates the key to Bolton's success this season, their fitness and their lack of injuries - Pards, ask 'em how they did it - with only 19 players used, the lowest total in the whole Premiership and with Ben Haim not seemingly going to Chelski, they'll be at full strength except for Hadji Diouf, of course, serving his second game suspension for his red against Middlesbrough.

The Addicks
Is Darren Back?

Well, it seems not and as reported on the official site, neither will be Luke Young or Andy Reid.

So after our healthly fighting display against a poor Portsmouth side 11 days ago, it'll probably be the same eleven against Bolton with maybe some new faces on the bench. Although knowing the physical approach that Bolton adopt, it wouldn't be a surprise if one of the wide men Rommerdahl or Thomas is rested for the weekend and another body brought in the strengthen the midfield, eg Ambrose or Kish.

New signings Magic Bougherra and Alex Song are both unavailable ( calf strain, already, and international duty respectively) but we could see Chinaman ZZ making at least an appearance on the bench alongside Diawara, Hasselbaink, Thomas and Myhre.

So the lineup, probably: Carson, Sankofa, El Karkouri, Hreidarsson, Thatcher, Rommedahl, Kishishev, Faye, Holland, Hughes, M Bent.



We've gone 58 games now without winning two in a row and its the time for breaking records and it would rather take the pressure off if we could do it now. So another 1-0 please. But bear in mind that this is Charlton we're talking about where taking the difficult path is always the plan. The last time we ended a barren away run in November 1970 we promptly lost the next away fixture, at Sheffield Utd by 3-0...

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