Friday, March 07, 2008

Preston preview

Saturday's fixture will be the last of the trio that I will get to see on this trip, one that began with considerable optimism at Bramall Lane, now injected with a dose of realism after a flat performance on Tuesday night.

Away from matters on the pitch, it's been a unusually busy week for the Addicks, one that's seen the arrival of yet another Premiership loan signing (our fifth), as well as the confirmed departure of Peter Varney. As if that wasn't enough excitement, Izale McLeod's career at Charlton went from bad to worse following a serious injury sustained for Colchester.

The arrival of Leroy Lita can't be anything but a positive for us, but it perhaps does not reflect well on Pardew's judgment, having spent approx £4m on Andy Gray and Luke Varney, and brought in Iwelumo, albeit on a free. With the additional presence of Scott Sinclair (who can presumably play as a striker), it implies he does not consider that trio good enough.

With the squad now at our disposal (now including five Premiership players with a total market value of perhaps £12m+), it would be something of an indictment if we fail to at least reach the play-offs. There's been a nagging sense that Pards has never worked out what his best team (or even formation) is, and thus just adding new personnel arguably increases the problem, rather than solves it.

Peter Varney's departure meanwhile was not an enormous surprise to me at least, although the exact details of his 'personal reasons' were not disclosed. Notwithstanding the lack of disclosure, it must be deflating after seven Premiership years, to find yourself managing the day-to-day shrinkage of the club's balance sheet. It can't be much fun declaring redundancies, cutting back budgets and 'enjoying' the hospitality at Scunthorpe or Blackpool.

I have never met Varney, although I treasure the framed letter on my wall confirming that they would not be pursuing my application to be first team coach. Given the nature of my application, it's perhaps indicative of the warm regard in which he's held, that he took the time to even sign the rejection letter.

The positive direction of the club was clearly inspired by the likes of Richard Murray and Martin Simons (and not least by their money), but Varney was entrusted with executing their plans, and it's firmly been a job well done in that respect. Some of the cases he argued on the club's behalf smacked a little of unrealistic self-righteousness (Chelsea's sandy pitch; the Osei Sankofa High Court injunction etc..), but presumably he was only obeying orders. Either way, thanks Peter for all your hard work, and good luck in the future.

I perhaps ought to see some sort of Harley Street specialist, but I still can't shake off the thought that we might still win automatic promotion. Eight wins from ten would take us to 80 points, quite possibly enough to ensure one of the two top spots. I'm not sure I fancy our chances at Ipswich, or at home to WBA, but as for the others, why not? They begin on Saturday.

Guessing Pardew's line-up in recent weeks has been akin to selecting numbers for the National Lottery; essentially a random process, with virtually no chance of being correct. However I'm relatively confident that we will line up as follows on Saturday: Weaver, Halford, Youga, McCarthy, Sodje, Thomas, Zheng, Holland, Sinclair, Lita, Gray. Subs: Elliot, Thatcher, Ambrose, Cook, Varney.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 1 (Lita), Preston 2 (Carter, Mellor). Att: 23, 181.


5 Comments:

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done for predicting the Preston win NYA - I'll go for Charlton 3 Preston 0 (Lita 2, Sodje)

 
At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your prediction is completely at odds with your second last paragraph, NYA. You are being tongue in cheek, obviously, but in which one?

 
At 6:39 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Well spotted. It's been noted that we always win on the rare occasions that I predict a defeat however.

 
At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because Izzy McLeod had gone out on loan to Colchester, Pards said he wanted Lita as a direct replacement for the period that McLeod was away.

On the OS, Pards also indicated that the forwards weren't really doing it and wanted to "....put a rattle-snake among them".

And all that was planned before the Plymouth thug clogged McLeod.

 
At 1:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'd drop Ambrose and play that flash chunt Jerome Thomas please tell me your joking

 

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