Tuesday, November 25, 2008

QPR preview

Charlton head to Loftus Road tonight in a state of managerial flux, yet in dire need of some positives upon which to rebuild this terrible season.

The best that can be hoped for from Phil Parkinson is a form of triage. In his playing days he was renowned as a leader and a battler, and one hopes he will very forcefully remind his new charges of their responsibility to at least give their all.

The diabolical run of form that we have been on since mid-September is not an accident, explained by random factors.

The lack of a playing ‘system’ is all too apparent, the team seemingly prepared with the same amount of due care and attention as a typical pub side. We've been turned over all too regularly by sides arguably with less natural talent, but where each player understands his role in the side, and more importantly can execute it.

Defensively, we have been revealed us as a ‘soft touch’, this despite the addition of two so-called ‘Premiership’ defenders in the shape of Cranie and Primus.

Yet it seems the club continues to go on the type of borrowing spree that would make Alistair Darling proud.

Out of the blue, we learned today of the arrival of Keith Gillespie, the fifth loan signing of the season and amazingly the tenth since Danny Mills returned to the Valley during 2007/8. One wonders if the club will soon look to consolidate all its existing loans into one simple monthly payment.

Fans are led to believe that new signings are the sole prerogative of the manager, yet Gillespie arrives before Parkinson has even had time to adjust the manager's chair to his larger dimensions. It reminds me of when Cory Gibbs arrived in mid-2006 when we didn’t even have a manager at all.

It all adds to the unfortunate sense that something has gone wrong with the usual checks and balances at the club, which the mere removal of Pards (welcome as it was) will not solve. One can trace this worrying trend back to the nonsense with Andrew Mills when Dowie arrived.

Thus without wishing to be unfair to Parkinson, I thus have a sense that a true outsider with a strong personality is needed, just as it was ironically when Pardew arrived. We just need to get the right man this time.

In the meantime, Parkinson does at least have real former direct managerial experience so we are in reasonable hands for the timebeing.

He has generally had a low profile since joining the club, so few will have a good sense as to his character and style. That could potentially work to his benefit.

For him to be able to persuade the fans that he’s the right man to take over permanently, it is futile to claim that the results from the next few games should be the deciding factor.

However we would like to see evidence that he’s got his own ideas, that the players are motivated, and that he’s able to instill at least a modicum of defensive organization, even in the few days he’s been in charge. After eleven consecutive games without a clean sheet, he will have plenty to work on.

He is generally held in high esteem by fans of Colchester, despite walking out on them to join Hull. And it is notable that the team he left behind finished in a highly creditable tenth position in the Championship, suggesting he left the club with a valuable legacy.

In his opening comments to the media as caretaker, he was swift to apportion some blame, highlighting the lack of discipline of the wide players. With Ambrose now on loan elsewhere, he was clearly referring to Bouazza and Sam, two players more than capable of leaving their brains in the dressing room.

Some quick research suggests Parkinson prefers a 4-4-2 formation. If true tonight, then it would imply a change from three games starting 4-5-1 which despite the ostensibly more defensive nature of the formation, resulted in ten goals leaked.

It was not particularly hard to tell that QPR’s installment as pre-season Championship favourites was absurd, and so it has proved. Despite sitting comfortably in mid-table, they have the joint second worst goals scored total, perhaps prompting the club’s billionaire owners to opt for the supposed Continental flair of Paolo Sousa.

Following relegation from the Premiership in 1995/96, the past twelve years until their latest buyout, have been characterized by a further relegation, financial troubles and dwindling crowds. The lesson for Charlton could not be starker.

Rangers were eventually turned around by Ian Holloway, who secured promotion back to the Championship in 2003/4. Will Charlton find their own saviour before another relegation?

Their squad is the usual mix of journeymen and ex-Premiership dropouts, including former Addick Lee Cook about whom Pards had very few nice things to say. Giant ex-Palace defender ‘one size’ Fitz Hall meanwhile will be suspended after his red card at Watford.

Charlton have a decent recent record at Loftus Road. Our play-off dreams died there last season, but we registered three consecutive wins there in 1989/90 (0-1), 1996/97 (1-2), and 1997/98 (2-4). We also won the 2nd leg of a League Cup tie there in 1998/99.

Its claustrophobic surroundings require adapting to, especially at night. If we concede the first goal for the 9th consecutive game, all of Parkinson’s motivational powers will be needed to salvage at least a vital point.

With injecting some solidity into the team surely the key, I suspect he will opt for a defensive looking line-up that narrows up the midfield, and encourages playing on the break with Gray's hold-up play an essential element.

I think he’ll make his first team selection as follows: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Youga, Hudson, Cranie, Bailey, Holland, Gillespie, Basey, Gray, Waghorn. Subs: Elliot, Semedo, Bouazza, Varney, Todorov.

NY Addick predicts: QPR 2 (Blackstock, Agyemang), Charlton 1 (Waghorn). Att: 14, 842.


At 11:04 PM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

You got the result right, but Blackstock scored only one and the attendance was much smaller. Gillespie was Parkinson's personal choice.


Post a Comment

<< Home