The Addicks face their toughest challenge so far in pre-season against UD Marbella tonight.
A club that's only 10 years old, the previous Marbella closed down with money problems, not an unusual case in Marbella where corruption is a real problem. The last two mayors are in prison along, it seems, with half the population while the previous one was the notorious Jesus Gil y Gil who was famous for transferring money from the Marbella council coffers to Atletico Madrid, where he was president, all for the honour of running out with "Marbella" on their shirts.
Anyway, after climbing through the regional leagues UD Marbella are now in the same Division, Second Divison B Group 4 ( Tier 3, region 4 that is) as the weekends' opponents, Malaga B, and while Malaga's reserves finished the season bottom of the League Marbella finished last season in 7th place.
So, a team on a roll and at home in their own little 9000 seat stadium and in 30 degree heat. It'll be a tough test for the Addicks and it'll be interesting to see how long Andy Reid lasts and is Marcus B still around?
The parting of the ways of Dennis R to Ajax for 1M Euros ( I just knew you wouldn't choose Getafe, Dennis) , seems to have improved our chances of the Tier 2 title and the betting now has us at clear 6/1 favorites and with Pardew's wallet getting fatter by the day with another 2.5m obtained for Luke Young when is he going to unveil his star purchase? There's no word on Hayden Mullins but the arrival of Freddie Ljungberg can't have improved Mullins' chance of a place in West Hams midfield while in Spain Dean Sinclair continues as Pardews current answer to a midfield dynamo.
Meanwhile, Pards continues with his search for the perfect 5-man forward line with Izale McLeod, not another striker, apparently coming from Milton Keynes Dons.
But lastly its reassuring that despite Andy Hunts comments about the last Addicks relegation team and Curbs' nervousness, this time, despite all the pressure and expectation, there doesn't seem the slightest sign of nerves in the Addicks camp. In fact quite the opposite.