A bit of a depressing day after sinking back to 3rd place and out of the desired automatic slot. Pards is confident that we are a promotion team but despite the memories of that day in 1998 nobody wants a Playoff struggle ending with a repeat of that day nine years ago. A Play-off position would be better than nothing but a top two place would be so much easier on the nerves.
As for Saturday's defeat, it was coming, for our record against the top teams is just not good enough and we have to put it right soon, ie tomorrow night with Plymouth coming to the Valley.
Scanning the stats from the weekend vainly trying to see any injustice and consolation but it doesn't work for me. The Addicks for all their first half 'domination', total possession of 53%, had a total of 3 shots on target, exactly the same as Wolves but to illustrate our poor shooting perhaps, were in front on 'missed' shots 7-2. On corners we had 8 against the Wolves 3.
After a two week break we didn't respond to going behind and Pards was upset at the lack of 'devilment and a bit of purpose' during the second half. Several things went wrong and could be used as excuses, with the injury to Chrissie Powell upsetting the formation, Bougherra being 'sick' before the game and our key man, Andy Reid, looking tired from his Irish exertions and perhaps in hindsight he should not have started. But maybe there's another pointer to our situation.
Pardew prays for a settled team and does his best to keep one and looking back to the last time we were here in Tier Two in 2000, Curbishley had the luxury of keeping almost the entire team together from the previous season to get us back up as Champions. Brown, Rufus, Powell, Youds, Kinsella, Keith Jones, Robinson, Newton, Hunt, Mendonca, Stuart all played in both the relegation and promotion years.
This time there's only three or four still here from last year and when contrasted with leaders Watford its perhaps clear why they are miles in front.
With none of the necessity for wholesale changes, Boothroyd has done a Curbishley and managed to retain most of his team from last year. Of the 16 players that played against us on this weekend a year ago, no less than 7 started their game against Hull on Saturday and another two were on the bench. The entire back four was the same as a year ago and that's the difference between the two teams, a unchanged core of players and a completely rebuilt one. And at the moment the rebuild one is not operating as well.
So its a real test for Pardew tomorrow and he faces the problem of changing his team due to injuries and suspensions and having to lift their heads after the defeat and push them back into the fray against a high-scoring Argyle team that a finishing place among the Play-offs would be a dream come true.
Don't expect a pretty game, it'll be tough out there.