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Monday, January 21, 2008

A Gray Day, or is it just Monday....

While we all debate whether Saturday was a point gained or two lost, we shouldn't forget that for the second game running we used our new-found determination to engineer a fighting come-back, and both away at promotion contenders.
But in spite of that, its still hard to push away from our minds that perhaps we could have won the game and while we can appreciate Pardew saying he'll take a point from Vicarage Rd any day, its worth remembering that since October, West Brom, Burnley, Bristol City, Plymouth and QPR have all done more and come away with all three, although perhaps not on a cold rainy afternoon unsuited to your style of football.
Dare we say it, but with our falling behind in our 86 point target, is it possible perhaps that Pardew has already settled for a place in the Play-offs. He's obviously an expert on the fizzies and has already pointed out that during the second half of the season the table will settle down with the top 6 now starting to put away from the rest, and thats happening with 3 points now separating us from 7th placed Ipswich.
And he's obviously conscious that our fate is now in our own hands with a crucial run starting in 8 days time with the arrival of Stoke City. Four home games running against Stoke, Palarse, Watford and Bristol City is a daunting prospect but will surely decide our fate and its all the better for the planned return of Andy Reid right in the middle of that run on February 12th at Sheffield Wednesday.
But if the worst happens and we finish outside the top two, perhaps we should note that of our fizzy games against the current top 8 teams, Saturday was the first drawn encounter, while we're already won 5 from 8 of the games, only losing out to Stoke and West Brom away. In fact, our games against the better teams have tended to bring out the best in us and we've now 4th in the table of games against the top half teams, with only West Brom, Stoke and Burnley doing better.
But wait a minute, what was that word I read in yesterday's posh-murdoch. Yes, thats it, cautious. 'Charlton manager Pardew was more cautious in his selection', presumably referring to his leaving new signing Andy Gray on the bench.
We haven't been called that for some time, and it's more a word we would associate with one of our previous managers. Lets hope its not catching, for caution at this point will surely only serve to leave us with nothing this season. And perhaps that is all we will get, for the task of building a new team in a year, and after losing so many Premiership players, should not be underestimated.
Its already been suggested that if we fail to go up this season Pardew will be off to pastures new, so its encouraging to read last week that Pardew still has long-term plans in place while talking about 23 year old Therry Racon, 'I would like to loan out Therry to a club in England, a number of French clubs would like to take him on loan, but I want him to learn the game here because he is a big part of my long-term plans. He played so well against Bristol City, but he hasn't really had a chance since then due to the form of our midfield players, so I'd like to give him some more experience of the English game.'
And while we still have high hopes for Chris Dickson, another new boy was introduced yesterday at Vicarage Rd in the 81st minute, as reported in the telegraph, one Al Bangura from Sierra Leone, a 19 year old that Boothroyd says after winning his appeal against deportation - 'our best result of the season'.
And just when we thought we were being ignored by the press, there's more good news from the independent where somebody else has noticed our fluidity of play although they did point out that it didn't apparently stop it being a humdrum match.
The guardian has also turned up with a report, called the match 'scrappy' and gave MOM to Watford's Tommy Smith.

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