Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wolves preview

I'm writing this preview from Doha, Qatar where I landed late last night after a lengthy trip from New York, via Heathrow. Qatar is of course the new home of former Addicks cult hero, Talal el Karkouri (although that's not why I'm here).

As it happens, his new club (Qatar Sports Club) have a home game this evening, so if I have nothing better to do I might pop along and see if he still does that funny over-the-head clearance. Then again I suspect I'll have something better to do.

I was struggling to work out why the game kicked-off at 10pm until I left the hotel to go jogging at just 7am this morning, and it was already brutally hot. In case I didn't already stand out enough here being white and fair-haired, I decided to throw 'jogging in the blistering heat' into the mix. I dread to think what it's like here in August.

This trip will take me onto Dubai tomorrow night, and then finally Abu Dhabi before taking the tortuous 14-hour direct flight back to New York. Reading about the incredible amount of development in the region, I had been curious to visit for some considerable time.

Given the exceptional wealth transfer that has occurred as energy prices have rocketed, it's probably a pre-requisite for understanding the world today. It makes a refreshing change to be somewhere whose prospects look so bright, and I'll write a full report in due course.

Ironically the only person I know here (a sports presenter on Al Jazeera) is a Wolves fan, but she's flown over to Dubai to cover tonight's horse racing World Cup. I haven't managed to work out if the game will be shown here (my Arabic is a bit rusty), but I may be able to catch it on the internet if nothing else.

It was big of Pards to come out during the week and admit he'd made mistakes, specifically with regard to the loan players. Frankly, he's being a bit harsh on himself because they have only been mistakes with the benefit of hindsight. Few Charlton fans were complaining at the time when they heard that Messrs Cook, Halford, Sinclair and Lita were coming to the Valley. Cook and Lita in particular may still come through for us, we'll see.

Where the loan players may have indirectly caused problems is in terms of the extra options it offered Pards, because he did not seem what his preferred system was, even before they arrived.
Again I would argue this season was essentially a 'fresh start', and it was perhaps too much to expect instant gratification. The loan players have not had a big impact for sure, but other factors have played a bigger part, some enforced (eg. injuries) and some not (eg. constant selection/tactical switches).

Our play-off hopes will effectively end tonight if we lose, since the gap between us and sixth will be at least four points with just five games remaining. If we were in seventh place, there might still be hope, but we could well be 11th and there will be too many sides to overtake. Pards says we have 'nothing to lose' now, but it's a strange logic.....we have our (currently genuine) 'play-off' chances to lose!

I hope he lines up as follows: Weaver, Halford, Youga, Sodje, McCarthy, Cook, Zheng, Semedo, Thomas, Lita, Iwelumo. Subs: Elliot, Bougherra, Ambrose, Holland, Varney.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 1 (Lita), Wolves 0. Att: 22, 844.


At 9:11 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Look forward to your write ups on Doha and Dubai NYA.


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