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Friday, August 24, 2007

Preview - Sheff. Wed (home)

We didn't expect to have only 1 point from our first 2 League games and with tough away games to come against Palarse and Colchester in the next two weeks its clear that unless we win the three points tomorrow we could well be dumped into the relegation spots as the bus rolls home from the Colchester game.
So its win or bust tomorrow and what better than a home game against the team sitting at the bottom of the table, Sheffield Wednesday.
Not Good
Despite a couple of FA Cup wins in 1996 and 2006 you have to go back 19 years to 29 October 1988 for our last League win over Wednesday when goals from Shirtliff and Williams got the points in a 2-1 win. The last seven games however, 2 in the Premiership, have been 1 draw and 6 defeats. In fact if you cared about your history you would notice that its not only last season in which we've been dealt a bit of a short hand when looking at our opening fixtures.
This year all our first 5 opponents have good records against us. Scunthorpe, Stoke, Sheff W, Palarse and believe it or not, little Colchester. So its not until we meet Norwich on Sept 18th that we face a team that we have beaten more times than lost.

Of our 36 games against Sheff W. they've won 16 and we've only won 11. And the worst one of those defeats was back in March 1937 when they ended our 11 match unbeaten run and condemned us to a remarkable second place finish in the old First Division. After that demoralising defeat we lose our next three away games and the chance of the title was lost. They, in contrast finished bottom.

The Opponents

Pointless and Bottom
After defeats away to Ipswich 1-4 on the opening day and then a 1-3 loss to Wolves last weekend, Wednesday find themselves pretty pointless and sitting at the foot of the table. They did manage a win at Rotherham 3-1 in the League Cup so with 5 goals from 3 games they have managed to score 1 more than we have.

Who Are Yor?
Tudgay Could Return
After all the injury talk in mid-week it would seem that the not-Turkish striker from Shoreham Marcus Tudgay is fit to play after tangling with ex-captain Coughlan during the League Cup win at Rotherham. Tudgay, who damaged his shoulder in the game, has returned to training and should be able to play a part at the Valley, should he have no side-affects over the last few days. Unfortunately, Tudgay scored 11 goals from 37 starts last season and just so you wouldn't miss him he wears number 7.
Wednesday's injury worries eased further on Thursday with vice-captain Glenn Whelan and Steve Watson both returning to training and set for Charlton on Saturday.
Watson was left out of the Wolves defeat because of a pulled stomach muscle while Whelan, who limped out of the game on Sunday, looks to have shaken off a groin problem. The fox-in-the-box, however, that you really wanted to abuse, is out. Out where we don't know but the local boozer is a possible.
They've also got two Jamacians, a real one in Number 23 Jermaine Johnson from Kingston and a pretend-one in Number 10 Deon Burton ( 13 goals last season) from Reading. And there's also Wade Small, number 26, for Pards to consider. Small, who as you would expect is at 5'7", small but also very fast, can play on either flank, or wing if you prefer, and has scored twice in the last two games. Thatcher to mark then, maybe...
But where are the old Yorkshire names that you expect from the biggest Yorkshire club?; Farnsworth, Grummitt, Wilcockson, Prendergast, Liversidge, Worthington, Shirtliff...
Well, times have changed, 'cause apart from Tudgay from Shoreham, Frank Simek from Missouri, Yoann Folly from France, it seems that they also have the only Norwegian footballer in the world called Rocky, surname Lekaj, who oddly enough was born in Kosovo, the place with all them NATA troops down there in the Balkans. But as he's only 17 its unlikely that you're going to find out any more about him come the weekend. With the money problems that they have at Hillsborough, and the ground usually half-empty, they're obviously going for the cheap foreign option and they're now giving a trial to Basque youngster Igor Angulo. Laws has quite obviously got over his dislike of them foreign johnnies after his unfortunate incident involving chickens and the Italian Ivano Bonetti at Grimsby.

The Addicks
Right Back Where We Started
Number One Issue is the right-back problem and it does seem rather strange that we have 5 left-backs on the books - Thatcher, Powell, Gibbs, Youga and Basey and only two right-backs in Yassin and Sankofa. But at last we have some details about the injury to Osei in yesterdays CAFC preview of Saturdays game - "With the club's only other right-back Osei Sankofa also sidelined with a thigh injury". We'll send someone to his Mum's house straight away to put her mind at rest.
Anyway, with both out injured, Pards will have to improvise. There's Jon Fortune maybe or Jose Semedo or young Rhys Coleman. Thatcher could move across with Chrissie Powell coming in. But with Pards wanting to get a bit of stability in the team selection he'll probably put Fortune at right-back with McCarthy at centre-back.

So its Weaver continuing in goal: Fortune and Thatcher, Centre-backs: Magic and Paddy. Midfield: Semedo, Reid, Thomas and Ambrose or...
After his outing on Tuesday for the reserves, ZiZi could well make his first start of the season although up-front Luke Varney is clearly not match-fit yet. So its Marcus Bent who's surely earned himself another start and alongside him, with Todorov still out, probably McLeod.
And they'll be lots of old mates about for the Addicks this week. Magic had six months at Hillsborough last season, Izale McLeod knows the wee Wade Small from MK Dons and no doubt our 'ittle irish fellow has made acquaintances with his fellow Dubliner and scorer of 7 goals last season, Glenn Whelan.

What Does Pards Say?
This Ones Going to be Different
"I'm not saying our game and style of play will be better suited to Sheffield Wednesday, I don't know. But we will certainly have to be aware we need to be stronger. Everyone who turns up on Saturday needs to see us win, so there will be a little bit of extra pressure and we need to be able to cope with that. There is no doubt that we need to get a win under our belts in the league just to give everybody that feeling that we will be strong - because we are going to be strong."

It has to be a WIN

We don't care if its 1-0 with a fluky goal and we're not too bothered about pretty football or even good football, 'cause all we want at the moment is the 3 bleeding points.

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