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Friday, August 31, 2007

Preview - Palarse (away)

This week its a trip back in time, to that old heap in the back of beyond we used to have to travel to, called, fondly by some but not many, Sainburys. Is the shop still there? Is it still raining? Is that Homesdale Road still a pig to get across? Who knows? And who cares, thank God its only for the one gane this time.
But nostalgia is a terrible thing and I do recall jumping off that top step of the - the name escapes me - to celebrate our second goal against Fulham in 1986. I lie, I was sat in the.........thats it, the Arthur Wait stand with Mrs Nelson at the time. I always wondered who Arthur Wait was and I never did find out. No, please don't bother, I've lost the interest.

Not Very Good!
It's a sad fact that we were, in the past anyway, not very good at putting one over the neighbours. And here's another one that has usually beaten us. Perhaps that's why we hate them so, although its more contempt to tell the truth.
After a total of 25 years in the same Division, the current score is 23 to 14 to them, in the League anyway, so it'll be at least another 4 and a half years till we catch up and gain the bragging rights but then they'll probably be relegated before we do.

The Opponents
Not Selhurst Park, I hate that Place
You will not have noticed but since walloping Southampton 4-1 at St. Marys on the opening day, Palarse haven't been doing too well. A 1-1 at Bristol Rovers in the League Cup thing was not enough and they lost 4-1 on penalties with Dougie Freedman ( is he still going? ) and Shefki Kuqi both sadly missing from the spot.
They then drew 2-2 with Leicester ( with Kish warming the bench all afternoon) at home ( if anyone can call Sainburys home) with Clinton Morrison scoring in the last minute and last weekend they managed to lose again at Ipswich by 1-0.
Last year they finished 12th, a full 10 points away from the play-offs. They lost 8 games at home last season which was twice as many as the season before, which proves beyond a doubt that they'll rapidly going backwards.

Who Are Yorr?
Bez From the Balkans.
There's our Pards wishing for a settled squad while Peter Taylor is trying to upset his. After having 10 players that have started every League game, Tayor throws a spanner, or is it an eagle, into the works by stressing that he might be playing his new loan signing from Liverpool, the 19 year old striker from Austrian-Albanian-Kosovo, Bez Izrizaj.
Well, Mr Taylor we're not fooled, it'll be your boring settled team with Bez on the bench. In contrast, both teams have used 17 players in the League so far but while Palarse have 10 players that have started every game, the Addicks only have 7 and two of them Marcus Bent and Thatcher, for different reasons, wouldn't be there tomorrow.
It all goes to prove what a minuscule low-budget squad our little neighbours have. Anyway, it gives Pards a better chance to plan on their formation and thankfully put the beast to the sword.
Their leading scorer, at goals anyway, is ex-Ipswich and Leicester man James Scowcroft on 3 with the Republic of Ireland striker from Wandsworth, Clinton Morrison on 2 and its odds-on that these two will be at the sharp end of things. The other one that you'll want to know is the goalie, one Julian Speroni, the one doing all the work come the weekend. Bit of a naff name for a goalie - no, the Julian bit - but then we can't laugh, we've got a Nicky. Turns out Mr. Speroni is from Argentina, via Dundee, and can be a bit erratic when dealing with back-passes.

The Addicks
Mills's is Back
The biggest news on the Addicks front so far is the return, on loan, of Danny Mills from the blue part of Manchester. He's been around a bit, at Middlesbro, Man. City and Hull, since he left us for Leeds for 4M back in 1999 after our last relegation and although he hasn't played since Christmas, he's been in most of Man. City's pre-season games and he's no doubt going to start at right-back tomorrow.

Pards' has also been quick to recognize our defensive failings, haven't we all, and has signed Greenwich born Sam Sodje from Reading for the season. He can't play tomorrow, however, as he was sent-off in the League Cup against Swansea. Red card already...can't wait to see the affect Mills, Sonje and Thatcher have on the opposition.

As for the defence tomorrow, its a straight choice between McCarthy, Bougherra and Fortune and the only reason I can think of to for McCarthy and Fortune is those two late headers at the Valley, one in midweek and the other a couple of years ago.

As for our sharp end, Luke Varney, he's apparently been in full training this week but Pardew is unlikely to risk him before its clear that the ankle is recovered.

So the team - although Racon impressed in midweek, it'll probably be ZiZi in the middle alongside the little irish geezer. The only other doubt really is Ambrose or Thomas? Its your choice, well it's not really, its all up to Pards and his magic book. Ten to one, it'll all change at half-time anyway.

The team: Weaver; Mills, McCarthy, Fortune, Powell; Reid, Semedo, ZiZi, Ambrose; Iwelumo and Todorov.
Subs: Randolph, Bougherra, Racon, Thomas, McLeod

What Does Pards Say?

A Red-Hot Game
"It's going to be a red-hot game, there is some history between the two clubs, and I hope the event goes off nice and calmly and that we play with a bit more calmness as well."

Unlike Palarse or frankie I don't have a crystal thingy but nevertheless its obviously going to be one of them gruelling derby games - Toddy scoring early but Morrison with a late, late equaliser, a 1-1 draw then.

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