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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I said a few weeks back that before we get onto our difficult away period, which begins on February 6th at Swindon, we must make hay while we can. The next three January games, all at home, are against teams that we have already beaten away from home and Parky will be keen to pick up the nine points to get us up to a nice round 60. These three games are vital in keeping up the pressure at the top and improving out home record which currently is only 4th best in the division after Huddersfield, Norwich and Leeds.
Meanwhile, League leaders Leeds, currently six points ahead of us, but with only 15 points from their last 8 league games ( 22 to Norwich, 18 to the Addicks) have only two League games left in January due to their FA Cup and Johnstone's Paint action and they aren't the sort of fixtures set to ease the mounting nerves of the Leeds faithful. First they visit in-form Swindon (2nd in the table on current 8-game form) on Tuesday 26th and then have Colchester (5 wins in the last 8) the following weekend at Elland Rd. We can only hope that Leeds manage to get a result at White Hart Lane on Saturday to confuse their League efforts even more.
And since Christmas Leeds have been having an uncomfortable time of it, in the League anyway. On Boxing Day todays visitors Hartlepool became the first away team to score first this season at Elland Rd (apart from Liverpool) before the whites scored three and won 3-1 and then in the following match the whites found themselves 2-1 down at Stockport with half-an-hour left but managed to win 4-2. Then they were outplayed on their own pitch by Wycombe in a 1-1 draw in their first game in 2010 before losing their second game of the season 2-0 at Exeter on Saturday.

And after Leeds' defeat at Exeter last weekend Grayson was full of praise for the Grecians, "I have to give a lot of credit to Exeter. I thought they played well today. They worked our back four as hard as probably a lot of teams have so far this season(!)" Sadly Stuart Fleetwood didn't play a part, spending the whole game sat on the bench.

But, disturbing our cozy little promotion twosome are the party-poopers from Norwich, currently three points in front of the Addicks although we have a game in hand, who also have only 2 games in January, at home to Brentford ( one of the four teams to beat them this season) and Hartlepool before a tricky little trip to only-one-home-defeat Millwall at the Den in Feb 6th. Thirteen games without defeat now ( since that one at Leeds) and with 14 wins in their last 17 league games the canaries must be dying to suffer a reverse. It has to come, of course, but maybe not before they run out of breath after reaching first place, which could well be at the weekend against Brentford.

Parky will be determined to keep it a three-way battle although a year ago League One, if you took any notice, all looked so much clearer. Run away leaders Leicester on 17 victories and only 2 defeats were on 57 points after 25 games, seven points clear of second placed MK Dons on 50. Twenty-one games later and Leicester would finish on 96 with only 2 further defeats.
Meanwhile, down at Hartlepool, despite their goal at Leeds, things are also going badly with 6 defeats in their last nine including a 5-0 home hammering by MK Dons at the weekend. Chris Turner had this to say afterwards, "It was shocking. We were very poor in every department; it was the worst I've seen us play and when the first goal went in we just collapsed."

He'll make changes after that result and will probably include Irish striker Denis Behan, on 4 goals, who made a comback from injury against MK Dons after being out for the last couple of months.

On the stat front there's proof that that goal at Leeds was not a fluke as only two teams have scored first more times than the pool's 16 times this season (Leeds and the party-poopers) while the Addicks are on 15 but while we have not lost after going in front the pool have lost 7 times - more than everybody added together - well nearly. And the pool have another good record in clean sheets with nine against the Addicks eight.

The Team
Parky, of course, won't be in need of any changes but will probably bring back Frazer Richardson after his appearance on Saturday after 68 minutes. But there's no news about Kelly Youga, missing now for seven games, so Grant Basey will continue at left-back.

Only the party-poopers have scored more goals than our 48 but we still lack a consistent striker. Four of Burton's 12 have been penalties and while Parky clearly likes what he sees in Dave Mooney, its now been five games for him and nearly 400 minutes since he last scored against Bristol Rovers.

Elliot; Richardson, Dailly, Llera, Basey; Sam, Semedo, Bailey, Shelvey; Burton and Mooney.

There's only 5 teams in this league that have scored more goals away from home than Hartlepool and their weekend 5-0 defeat by MK was their first non-scoring game in twelve.
But they have conceded three goals in each of their last three away games at Leeds, Southend and Carlisle, losing all three, so there's no reason why we shouldn't expect to bang in a hatful. Although then again we are Charlton and with a favorite score of 2-1 its more probable that we'll resist the tempation of scoring loads while we can expect Hartlepool to react to their generous display against MK Dons last weekend by tightening up a bit. And they may even score first....
Verdict: Addicks 2 Hartlepool 1

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well predicted!