But you can't accuse us of not fighting. We haven't had a single straightforward game since Stockport on the 12th Dec. Since then we've had seven games that we've either drawn after going behind ( Millwall, Swindon, Brentford and Tranmere) or gone on the win after the other team had equalised ( Wycombe and Hartlepool) and in only one have we failed to score (Orient).
On Saturday we had 21 shots with 12 on target. The party-poopers from East Anglia only managed 7 shots ( 4 on target) against Hartlepool in their 2-1 win while Leeds only have 14 (7 on target). And the only team to come anywhere near us was Pardews lot with 18 shots, 13 on target. So we've showing fighting spirit and creating shooting positions.
So on to Walsall. And while we continue to vie with Norwich and Leeds with most shots on target our next opponents Walsall are down the other end of the listing with less shots than anybody else in the Division. Manager for the past year at the Saddlers is Paul Jewell's mate Chris Hutchings. They've been together 3 times at Bradford, Wigan and Derby with Hutchings being the beneficiary by taking over all three times when Jewell upped and left.
After 5 wins in 7 back in October/November which took them to the brink of the Play-offs positions in 7th place they have became a little dizzy about their prospects and its now been six games without a win and with 4 defeats in there as well and a slide down to 13th place. And while the Addicks have only got 13 points from their last 8 games, Walsall are even worst with only 8 points from the last 24.
And their recent home form is even worse with only 1 win ( 3-0 against Oldham two months ago) in the last 5 games at the Banks Stadium with 3 defeats to Pardew's lot, Brighton and the East Anglia party-poopers, whom they lead for 40 minutes before succumbing to two goals in the last 13 minutes.
Top scorers are number 10 Troy Deeney, still only 21, and the irishman number 7 Steve Jones both on 9. But Jones is out injured so its Deon's fellow Jamaican, Darren Byfield, ex of the spanners and the Gills, that starts alongside Troy these days and he has 7 goals.
Whats Their Secret?
As we said in December, Walsall's party trick is giving the opposition a goal start and then going on to win. They've done it three times this season - a 2-1 win over Huddersfield back in September with an 87 minute Raynes goal after going behind and at Wycombe where they went 2-0 down and won 3-2 and they also beat Tranmere after going a goal down. But typical for a mid-table team they can do the opposite as well and have also lost 3 times after winning....
Despite winning three out of the last 4 Cup games against the Addicks ( which includes the embarrassing 2-1 FA Cup defeat at the Valley in 2002 ) we should be looking forward to visiting Walsall where of all the other Tier 3 teams we have our best away record ( in League games anyway) picking up over 1.5 points per game. Its one of only three places down here where we've won more than we've lost ( the others are Gillingham and Southend) and the record currently stands at 4 wins, 2 draws and only 3 defeats over the 9 League games.
Randolph; Richardson, Dailly, S. Sodje, Basey; Sam, Semedo, Bailey, Reid; A. Sodje, Burton.