I am now safely back in the US, and thus face the not inconsiderable challenge of following the Palace game without the benefit of either television or radio coverage.
It is tempting to ask someone in the UK to put their radio next to their PC so I can listen to BBC London commentary via Skype, but I'm not sure even I'm that desperate. Indeed with three concurrent Premiership games shown at the Irish pub over the road, and excellent coffee and breakfast available, I may just hunt glory over there with my mobile phone sat teasingly on the bar, awaiting text updates.
Reading some of the pre-match blurb, one is tempted to think that tomorrow's fixture resembles an Old Firm derby, or that infamous 1969 game between Honduras and El Salvador which some claim was causus belli. Prior to the distribution of the infamous leaflet at The Valley in 1985 confirming our move to Selhurst Park (ironically on the day we played and beat Palace 3-1), I am not convinced Palace were much more of a local rival to Charlton than say West Ham or Orient.
As a result, whilst the subsequent 6-year ground share and more recently the Murray/Jordan/Dowie fiascos have certainly added some fuel to any perceived fires, it all feels a little false to me. It reminds me a little of the times I'd watch Barnet in the 1990s, when they saw their traditional enemies Enfield fall by the wayside, leaving them firmly rival-less. Cue desperate attempts to declare war firstly upon Leyton Orient, and then more bizarrely Fulham. Presumably they have now discovered a long, but unrequited hatred of Dagenham & Redbridge.
No doubt the usual rent-a-crowd from South-East London will make their presence felt at Selhurst Park (funny how they never show up at The Valley?), but as far as I'm concerned any attempt to turn the game into 'something personal', will only work to our detriment. And anyhow, other than a rather different style and ego, how does Simon Jordan's actions in the Dowie case differ from those taken by Charlton in the case of say the 'Chelsea sandy pitch', or the Sankofa sending off?
With 7 goals scored in their first 3 games, Palace will present a genuine threat to Charlton's shaky defence. Pards is almost certain to hand a start to Danny Mills, who is likely to be joined on the opposite flank by Chris Powell in a repeat of the 1998/99 full-back pairings. We are starting to resemble the Charlton side of the mid-1990s that saw a succession of former Addicks returning to the Valley (Mortimer, Bennett, Williams, Humphrey etc..).
In central defence, either Bougherra or McCarthy will presumably join Jonathan Fortune, whilst surely Pards will opt for the midfield four which destroyed Sheffield Wednesday in the second half (Thomas, Zheng, Reid, Ambrose). It would be harsh to leave out Semedo entirely, but Pards may choose to sacrifice the youngster when calmer heads like Powell's are required. Upfront, Iwelumo must start and Todorov's highly impressive showings in recent matches will doubtless see him preferred to the raw Izale McLeod.
Hence I expect us to line up as follows: Weaver, Mills, Powell, Bougherra, Fortune, Reid, Ambrose, Zheng, Thomas, Iwelumo, Todorov. Subs: Randolph, McCarthy, Semedo, McLeod, Sam.
NY Addick predicts Crystal Palace 1 (Morrison), Charlton 1 (Todorov). Attn: 19, 564.