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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Preview - Stockport County - League Cup 2nd Round (Home)

After last years epic trip through to the League Cup Quarter-Final, and then a depressing defeat at home to Tier Four Wycombe, we continue this year with another easy home game (!) against a team from the very same Division, Stockport County.
There's a very good write-up by Lindsay and Matt on the CAFC site full of details on injuries and the like. And shiver my timbers there's even a mention of Cory Gibbs - "Cory Gibbs is not yet fit following a knee niggle in pre-season".
Well, the first thing to learn about Stockport is that it's huge, all of 136,000 people. But with it being only 7 miles from Manchester, the footballing public have always tended to catch the bus, which is just as well as the ground only holds 10,000. Consequently, there's not been too much success at Stockport and there's only been 2 years when the Addicks and Stockport have even been in the same Division, 97/98 and 99/00 and with only 5 games against them, its all square in the League with one FA Cup win to the Addicks.
The Opponents
11 Games Unbeaten
Charlton were close last year to a League Cup Semi-Final but Stockport, Tier Four or not, have already done that. While Cup competitions, at least for the last 60 years, have always seemed an irritation to the Addicks, small teams like Stockport see it as a lifeline to glory and a useful source of extra income.
So it was that in 1997 little County achieved something the Addicks have never done and reached the Semi's, beating Blackburn, Southampton and West Ham on the way before losing 2-1 to Middlesbrough.
In the League, Tier Four, they finished 8th last season, missing out on the play-offs on goal difference, and they're not doing too bad this season either. While the Addicks enjoyed a second-half comeback to win on Saturday, Stockport if you include a pre-season of 5 unbeaten games, have now gone 11 games without defeat going back to April 21st.
And with a win and 2 draws in the League and a First Round League Cup win over Tranmere they have yet to go behind this season. With only 5 goals scored in the four games, they don't score many but have only conceded 3 times.
Who Are Yorr?
Keith and Jason
None of them strange names here, it's a team full of Adams, Garys, Keiths; Jason, Paul and Tony. There's a couple of Irish but all the rest are English. According to the beeb Stockport will give fitness tests to leading goalscorer Liam Dickinson and midfielder David Poole, who both picked up knocks on Saturday and went off at half-time.
The Addicks
Dean to Start?
Having lost both right-backs to injury, it now seems that its our left-backs that are coming under the hammer. With Gibbs still injured and Basey and Youga away on loan we've now lost Thatcher, who its reported "left the field against Sheffield Wednesday with suspected knee ligament damage, is doubtful for Tuesday." So Chrissie Powell to fill in then.
With Pards keen to take the opportunity to see fringe players in action, it may be the time to put Dean Sinclair in midfield for the first time, especially as he's used to battling it out in League Two and he knows the opposition having played against Stockport in March at Underhill in a 3-1 win and scored the second goal for Barnet.
Reid will no doubt be rested, as he's far too valuable to be risked and we'll probably see ZiZi play his first full game. And on the right wing we may see Martin Christensen or a return for Lloyd Sam.
And although Izale McLeod didn't play in the MK Dons team that inflicted Stockports last defeat in April, Pards is likely to ask him to play tonight, alongside 2 goal hero Iwelumo perhaps. In goal, an outing for Darren Randolph is also on the cards.
But the defence. All the clean sheets of pre-season have all but been forgotten as we leak goal after goal. McCarthy seems to have solved the problem at right-back, albeit temporarily, and did well at right-back, earning himself a good report from the boss "I thought Paddy McCarthy did an admirable job at right-back on Saturday. They made it difficult for him, he's never really played there and he did a brilliant job."
But its now the centre-backs that are the problem. Will Pards continue to show confidence in the long lost Faye? Even the official site is now getting in on the act with "while Amdy Faye, who made his first appearance of the season over the weekend, has previously impressed as an emergency centre-half for the club." The game would seem to be heaven-sent as an opportunity to push him out into the real world especially with a reported injury to Bougherra "Bougherra also limped off with a knock injury.
So the team? Randolph; McCarthy, Fortune, Faye, Powell; Sam, Semedo, ZiZi, Sinclair; McLeod and Iwelumo.
What Does Pards Say?
Using the Squad
"I definitely want to have a look at one or two players but I will put out a side that is strong enough to win the game. I wouldn't call it resting players, I'd call it using the squad. All the players are desperate to do well for Charlton, some of them haven't had a game yet, so I'm going to introduce them on the back of a win on Saturday. I'd like to think they will be inspired by that and will want to do as well as those players did.”
The Addicks win on Penalties..

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