Monday, December 18, 2006

Wycombe preview

The most outstanding chance the club has had to reach our first major Cup semi-final since 1947, is generating a fully understandable sense of disinterest.

However in my view, the game takes on considerable significance for several reasons. Firstly and most obviously, defeat would be unthinkable and the implications unimaginable. Missing out on the chance to at least give Charlton's despondent fans a small pre-Xmas lift would likely lead to the type of vitriol which would convert our current sorry state into a full-blown crisis. A head ought to roll (Reed? Varney?) if only for symbolic value.

Second, the realistic possibility of giving the Second Division side a hammering would not do our fragile Premiership form any harm. Winning is a habit which we seem firmly to have kicked.

Third, it presents Reed with a chance to give some fringe first-teamers a chance to prove they are genuinely worthy of a place ahead of the current underperforming incumbents. Assuming for example that the likes of Marcus Bent are given a rare start, then if they do not grasp the mantle and deliver a genuinely lung-bursting performance then I really do despair for them, and fear for the future of our club.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, for goodness sake it represents a chance to win a competition and at the same time secure European football. Year after year of Premiership safety is well and good (albeit now in doubt), but surely we all dream of some glory and trophies at some point too?

The crowd at the Valley is likely to be sparse, and frankly who can blame those that are staying away? If the players selected have even a modicum of heart and spirit, they will surely crave the opportunity to shove some our words down our throats with a performance that displays both.

Arch tipster Derek 'Killer' Hales (KillerWatch© -£432) arguably has less credibility than Les Reed right now, and does himself little favours with comments like, "Of course betting us to win on the match odds market [4/11] is no value." Why Derek? If you think Charlton's true probability of winning is higher than 73.3% then it represents good value, and I happen to believe that is the case. NY Addick predicts: Charlton 4 (Bent M 2, Hughes 2), Wycombe 0.


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