Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Another Norwich Preview

Sixteen games without a win. Four points adrift at the bottom. And, of course, no real surprise after just 10 wins in the whole of 2008, that we've now equalled our worse winless run in history. Back in 1955 we had a similar run although that happened in Division One and spanned two seasons neither of which lead to relegation. And back then that run eventually ended in a resounding 3-1 win at Bolton in the third game of the new season with a Stuart Leary hat-trick and it goes without saying that there was none of the gloom that surround us now.
So with Parky now being installed as the permanent manager, with the promise of 4 new players this month its time to get back to the present and a cup game arriving at perhaps just the right time. After the shock of going in front against Sheffield and looking the best team during the first hour we got the inevitable jitters and conceded 3 goals in the last 25 minutes. The performance and a great goal from Bouazza, his fourth of the season, should serve to lift us and - sorry, you pessimists - you just have to believe that things are going to get better. It just needs a little luck, and a decent ref, to get us out of this morass because after 16 winless games in 1955 we then turned the corner and won 3 in a row.
Talking of luck, Norwich have had 5 own-goals to their name this year - we have just one - so a bit more luck perhaps than we've had but they come to the Valley after two defeats, 1-3 at Sainsburys and 2-3 at home to Forest. And although the Addicks, along with Watford, have the worst away record with just 6 points on the road, Norwich are not great travellers either with just 2 wins, the same number of defeats as us and the second worst away defence after Sheffield Wednesday with 24 goals conceded.
DangerMan - Leroy Lita's loan period ended at the end of the year but there's no mention of him being recalled or the loan extended and there's no mention, unlike their other loanees, of his being allowed to play this weekend. Being sensible, Parky will assume he's playing and will make the appropriate plans to try to stop him scoring his eighth goal of the season.
History - Although we have a very good record against Norwich in the League it didn't do us much good last time out when Leroy Lita showed us what he's good at by scoring the only goal of the game. We've never meet Norwich in the FA cup but two defeats in the League Cup in '81 and '91, both two leg affairs with defeats at the Valley, perhaps don't bode well for Saturday.
Team News - In better days we would possibly field a couple of second string players in not-so-vital cup games but I doubt that Parky will see Saturdays game as a meaningless fixture. A Cup game where we can forget for a while the hectic need for league points could be just the ticket that Parky needs to start a winning run.
He'll have to wait a while however to pencil in the teamsheet as its the turn of the year and all those loan deals are ending or renewing and there's the added complication that clubs appear to be reluctant to allow their loan players to be cup-tied.
At the moment we can welcome back Darren Ambrose, quiet at the back, while loanees McEveley, Bouazza and Waghorn were initially reported to be all missing although it now seems that Fulham have finally agreed to allow Bouazza to play.
And unless Parky quickly agrees an extension with Pompey then Cranie will also be missing at right-back, as his loan period has officially ended, perhaps giving Moutaouakil his first game since the 5-2 defeat to Sheffield. Or will Parky remember that the only time Semedo has started at right-back was on the opening day of the season when a 2-0 win deceived us all.
So the possibility of a changed teamsheet but if Moutaouakil does play and with Basey or Youga returning we could see the attacking fullbacks that so many are pushing for but will Parky be sensible and rest Hudson before the crucial Forest game? He's on 4 yellows and another in the cup could see both him and Bailey miss the 6 pointer although the only possible replacement for him now that Primus has left would be Youga or Semedo.
Meanwhile in midfield Bailey will be playing his last game for a fortnight before his suspension but who will partner him in the centre? Holland or Semedo? Holland would seem to be in the ascendancy at the moment and should keep his place but without a striker scoring in the last three games and with Bouaza apparently operating behind Burton last time out will Parky try to persevere with 5 man midfield of Bailey, Basey and Bouazza abetted by Holland and Sam that he sent out against Sheffield? I think he will because against a weaker team than Sheffield we could well have held out and won the game.

Elliot; Moutaouakil, Hudson, Fortune, Youga; Sam, Bailey, Holland, Basey, Bouazza; Burton.

Prediction Will it be another early cup exit or as Killer predicts a win at last. Of course, the 16 game run relates to League games only and even if we won on Saturday the abysmal run in the League would still be there but a win, however lucky, could be the tonic to lift the team, and us. And it would be typical Charlton to win against Norwich in front of the smallest crowd for years without all those missing season tickets holders and then follow it up by losing to Forest the following week. So in a changing mood, the last forecast I'm offering this season is a win for the Addicks, 1-0.

No comments: