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Saturday, January 06, 2007

FA Cup 3rd Round - Forest Preview

With a manager that has experienced the excitement of an FA Cup Final, if not tasted the champagne, Charlton have just the boost they may need to edge past what is, in my book anyway, a Third Division team.

And while the game may have looked a bit difficult when the draw was made in December, a lot has changed since then. Reed has gone and old boy Pards has returned and inspired a heartening improvement, while the home team, that were clear at the top of their Division have now lose 3 of their last 6 games and have dropped to 3rd place. Their last game on New Years day saw a 5-0 defeat away to fellow promotion challengers Oldham where they finished with 9 men, 2 players, Danny Cullip and Sammy Clingan seeing red and therefore also missing today game. Their last home defeat was to the lowly boys from Brisbane Rd, Leyton Orient in a 1-3 reverse in the middle of December with our very own on-loan striker James Walker playing up front.

We've only met Forest once before in the Cup back in our Play-Off year of 1998 and finished 4-1 home winners with four of our all-time favorites Robinson, Brown, Leaburn and Mendonca being on the score-sheet. That was the year, of course, that saw Forest go back to the Premiership as Champions. Like ourselves they only lasted one year but unlike ourselves have been in free-fall since then.

The team that Pards will put out today will be without Scott Carson after Liverpool requested he not be "cup-tied" just in case they reach the final and the injuries keeping out Darren Bent, Andy Reid, Luke Young and HH. Away from home defence will come first and with Sankofa suspended it'll be either the Elk or Kish at right-back with 2 from three of Elk, Diawara and Fortune at centre-back. Traore will continue at left-back, hoping to stay clear of giving away free-kicks and penalties.

With Pards liking a 4-4-2 formation, Rommedahl looks certain to start out wide while the midfield will surely see cup expert Hughes alongside 3rd choice captain Holland with either Ambrose or Faye making up the four. With Zheng Zhi arriving next week and with Simon Walton back from Ipswich the midfield is starting to look a bit more promising while, in contrast, up front will be our only two fit strokers, Marcus Bent and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink.

Mr "Lets Move On" sees a 1-1 draw so its up to the team to show him the drastic error of his ways and see out the game as 2-1 winners. Roll on the Fourth Round.

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