Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reading preview

With Charlton having taken precisely zero points from two so-called 'must-win' home games, they now face top six teams in four of their next five matches.

Results are now effectively irrelevant, so it will be interesting to see how Phil Parkinson's team selections reflect this.

His willingness to experiment may win back those fans (who must by now comprise a large majority), who are now convinced a new manager is essential in time for next season.

Whilst their presence might ordinarily assist the team, I see no point to the likes of Zheng, Todorov, Ambrose, etc. wearing the red shirt again. They obviously won't be Charlton players next season.

The loan signings represent a different issue potentially given that Ward and Kandol (particularly), are realistic permanent signings even in League One.

However Soares is quite clearly not, whilst Butterfield may not feel a step down is required at aged 29, unless forced upon him.

The problem for Parkinson is as follows in my view. If he picks a 'full strength' side (or as I call it, a 'least weak'), and the team gets walloped in either of its next two fixtures, then frankly I believe his position will become untenable.

If however he picks a handful of youngsters (as he did notably at Norwich in the FA Cup), then he has nothing to lose. Get walloped and he will rightly defend his players in the name of 'useful experience for next season'.

Somehow salvage a point or better however, and his reputation amongst the faithful will be materially enhanced.

After all, it is certainly in need of some enhancement. His career record in the Championship (for both Hull City and Charlton) makes for deeply uncomfortable reading:

P39 W6 D10 L23 Pts28

However as we know, the impressive promotion he achieved with Colchester in 2005/6 was rightly heralded as signalling a potential new young managerial star in the making.

With Charlton now effectively relegated, is it the memory of that particular success which is ensuring the Board remain loyal to him now? Because if not, there's precious little else to back up his claims unfortunately.

After seven months of such rank disappointment, it's hard to believe that the 4-2 home win over Reading in August really happened. We were exceptional, full of fast-flowing energetic exciting football. How on earth could it have gone so badly wrong?

Reading have scored 37 goals at home, and conceded only 11. With automatic promotion ensured if they win all of their remaining games, they will view a visit by Charlton as a good place to start.

Steve Coppell's men were my pick for promotion at the start of the season, and whilst they will not accumulate the 106 points they managed in 2005/6, I still fancy they will finish up as Champions again.

NY Addick predicts: Reading 4 (Doyle 2, Hunt N, Little), Charlton 0. Att: 19, 288.


At 3:34 AM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

But we are surely not going down, are we? Don't forget.....
"This season we must ensure we maintain our Championship status, which is a huge change from setting out in August with hopes of a play-off place."  - Derek Chappell, 12 Dec. 2008

At 6:58 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Doesn't the fact that the team has performed poorly under both Pardew and Parkinson suggest that the players collectively are not good enough? After all, Pardew's track record as a manager before he came to us was not that bad. Of course, he was responsible for some of the signings, although Bailey has turend out all right. I thought we should have got rid of Pardew. But in football the manager is focused on to the exclusion of almost all other factors. He is very important, of course. But we shouldn't kid ourselves that there were some affordable, top quality managers ready to step into Pardew's shoes. I know that there were reports of 40 applications, but anyone who has ever done ever recruiting knows that you get a lot of irrelevant and poor quality applications. What you do is head hunt and that's what the board failed to do when Curbs left. I think that they did with Parkinson as No.2 and it's a great disappoinment it hasn't turned out better.

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Ketts said...

If you change the manager you must have a replacement lined-up.Charlton clearly didn't,thought that with the games coming up Parky would get some decent results & could then appoint him with the fans blessing.

It spectacuarly backfired on them.The 40 odd applicants did include Sam Allardyce who would surely have got us out of the hole.

I think the players are reasonable,how many of us were predicting relegation pre-season,so you have to look at the men in charge.

The Board must bite the bullet & make a change in the summer.Perhaps they should use Curbs to recruit the right man.

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Wyn, any group of players at this level will look mediocre (or worse) if not properly coached, motivated and organised.

We were top two for the first half of last season, and the team was not materially different from the one we began 2008/9 with. Losing Andy Reid was a blow, but he's only an average Premiership player as has since been proved.

I don't see how a group of now approaching 40 players used this season, can have a hope of building any team spirit, momentum etc..

For example can any Charlton fan put their hand on their heart, and say they have any clue (in very general terms) what 'type' of side Charlton are? eg. passing, long-ball, counterattacking, pressing etc..

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Valley Ant said...


"Dispirited & Poor"


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