Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Palace preview

Charlton's search for a Championship win enters its 116th day, as the Addicks 'welcome' local rivals Crystal Palace to The Valley.

With relegation looming for Charlton and Millwall flying high in League One, we run the risk of starting next season with no true local derbies to look forward to.

Leyton Orient are just a short drive up the A12 of course, but they occupy a relegation spot of their own.

We may thus be reduced to building up the atmosphere ahead of a ding-dong battle with Dagenham & Redbridge, if their promising season ends in promotion. Perhaps it'll be Ebbsfleet next.

Given we were four divisions apart when the Daggers took us to an FA Cup replay in 2001/2, this would sum up just how far the 'mighty' have fallen.

Until then, despite the ground-sharing, the Dowie fiasco and unsavoury incidents involving Palace fans, I've never fully embraced the idea that the Eagles are our natural rivals.

A distance of eleven miles may constitute rivalry in most parts of the country, but when those miles require a negotiation with the South Circular Road, then surely it's worth finding a rival somewhat closer to home. At least we share a train route with Millwall.

Moreover, whilst we did the double over Palace last season, our so-called rivals refocused on the true job in hand, and secured a play-off berth.

During the summer meanwhile, we swapped central defenders and I suspect only one of the two players concerned is regretting his move.

To be fair to Mark Hudson, he demonstrated the type of leadership we needed at the start of this season, but his impact has been diminished by the lack of heart around him. As if to emphasise the point, he's doubtful for the fixture.

Palace have quietly recovered from a poor start to tuck in behind the play-off positions, testament to the virtues of the old-fashioned football management style of Neil Warnock.

Love him or hate him (I veer toward the former), you can't deny the consistent success his teams achieve at this level. I wish he was our manager.

Palace's parachute payments ended last season, whilst their home support is notably worse than ours. Further evidence of the mismanagement of Charlton in comparison.

Our form over recent months has been so dire, that I find myself almost resigned to defeat as soon as I tune in for audio commentary.

Somehow Phil Parkinson has to break this cycle of negativity that now surrounds the club, but I've heard little from him to suggest he will any time soon. Given his association with the Pardew regime, this is perhaps hardly a surprise.

Having begun by making some more positive noises, he already seems to have inherited Pardew's unfortunate habit of blaming everyone and everything except himself.

This might wash better, if we weren't failing to win quite so often. After all, winning football matches is about more than chances created or possession. It's also about belief and hunger, two attributes we are patently lacking right now.

He seems to favour 4-4-1-1, but does this merely forcibly reflect a glut of central midfield players, combined with a paucity of forward options?

Meanwhile having watched Chris Dickson poach a well-taken goal on Saturday, will Parky bow to fan pressure and start the eager livewire on Tuesday night? Our alternative forward options are as stale as three-year old biscuits, and frankly how much worse could he do?

What is his thinking on goalkeepers meanwhile? Randolph was surprisingly preferred to Elliot and kept a clean sheet at Norwich, then reportedly played well at Sheffield Wednesday despite conceding four.

However Randolph was then dropped back in favour of Elliot, who was clearly at fault for both goals on Saturday. Nicky Weaver meanwhile is reportedly injured, but is surely in the shop window too. Is there any method to this apparent madness?

As a result, trying to second-guess Parky's team selection tomorrow is akin to picking lottery numbers. However I've consulted Mystic Meg, and I reckon he'll line them up as follows: Randolph, Moutaouakil, Youga, Fortune, Holland, Bailey, Racon, Soares, Sam, Shelvey, Gray. Subs: Elliot, Basey, Burton, Ambrose, Dickson.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 1 (Shelvey), Palace 3 (Kuqi, Carle, Lee). Tickets sold: 23, 019.


At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Ketts said...

Pity your not over for this one NYA.You could join the debate in the RoD about whether to turn right & head for the Valley or left for the O2 7 the Pussycat Dolls concert!

At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Spring NYA?


At 4:29 PM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

'Mystic Mug' has us down for a win, by the way (although predicted preseason.)

At 10:16 PM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

'There's only one Mystic Mug'!


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