Friday, October 31, 2008

Barnsley preview

I wouldn't usually speak of 'relegation six-pointers' in early-November, but it's hard to escape the feeling that this genuinely is one.

Two draws in four games for Charlton, both involving relatively late equalisers, is a somewhat promising sign although we certainly did not deserve to win either it would seem. I'm not yet convinced that this a team 'in recovery' as the manager puts it, because the patient stills seems very sick.

Pardew's tinkering is becoming a real frustration for fans and presumably some players alike. By dropping two of last Saturday's stand-out performers (and not even retaining them for the bench), one is again forced to wonder what big 'game plan' he has in mind for Charlton, if any. After all, it's not as if his constant tinkering is working - one win in eight tells you as much.

After taking six points from three games at the start to the season, Pardew could not resist tinkering at Preston (by moving Nicky Bailey out of central midfield) and he has barely stopped resisting since as we slid down the table. The result is a very worrying lack of consistency, and a team that is clearly less than the sum of its parts.

Pards implied this week that only four players are essentially guaranteed a place (Weaver, Hudson, Cranie and Bailey). This is broadly correct, although only if Cranie is operated in central defence where he has impressed. However he acts as if Luke Varney is also guaranteed a place, and to a lesser degree Matt Holland; neither warrants the same special treatment.

I expect Pards to line them up as follows: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Youga, Hudson, Cranie, Bailey, Wright, Sam, Bouazza, Todorov, Varney. Subs: Elliot, Semedo, Holland, Ambrose, McLeod.

It's hard to avoid the vital nature of this fixture. It is almost a 'must-win' game for the Addicks, or at least a 'must perform well'. A defeat meanwhile will pile more pressure on Pardew, and frankly rightly so. Fans want to see more consistency, and greater evidence of a long-term plan for moving up the Championship, rather than hear more Pardew post-match spin.

NY Addick predicts Charlton 1 (Todorov) Barnsley 1 (Campbell-Ryce). Att: 19,982.


Post a Comment

<< Home