Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Leyton Orient preview

The largest travelling Addicks contingent since 5,250 fans travelled to Middlesbrough for a midweek FA Cup reply in April 2006, will be present at the Matchroom Stadium tonight.

The uncharacteristically strong interest in this fixture probably stems more from the novelty value of a rare visit to a local rival, than from any early optimism garnered by two back-to-back wins.

Perhaps not however, because ridiculous as it may be, we have not managed consecutive victories since December 2007 when we triumphed over Cardiff and Ipswich in the space of four days. No wonder it feels a bit weird.

Ironically Leyton Orient were one of the teams we beat to reach the aforementioned quarter-final, Jay Bothroyd scoring a very late Valley winner to spare Charlton blushes in front of 6,000 travelling supporters of their own.

Being the corporate whore that I am, I’ll be viewing proceedings from ‘The Gallery’ in the new West Stand, a description which conjures up images that are more Andy Warhol, than Andy Gray.

However hopefully the joyful sight of 3,000+ Addicks celebrating goals directly opposite, will be more than enough to comfort me for the fact that I may struggle to do much celebrating myself.

Both of tonight’s managers learned their trade at Colchester United, Geraint Williams building on the promotion foundations laid by our own Phil Parkinson, to lead the U’s to an impressive 10th position in the Championship.

However the reality of a severely restricted budget led to relegation the following season, despite a Kevin Lisbie inspired win at The Valley.

Williams took over at Orient in February 2009 when they were in a precarious position but he steadied the ship, registering nine more wins to finish in 14th place, seven points clear of relegation.

It would be hard not to maintain a soft spot for the Os, their long-suffering fans having enjoyed just a solitary top flight season (in 1962/63) and forever living in the shadow of West Ham.

They’ve even changed their name from Clapton Orient to Leyton Orient, then just to Orient and then back to Leyton Orient, suggesting something of an understandable identity problem. They also used to play in blue.

If Charlton maintain their 100% start to the season, it will do Parkinson’s reputation no harm whatsoever in the eyes of the fans, although in the likes of Shelvey, Bailey, Racon and Sam, he is blessed with players far too talented to be playing for long at this level. Luckily they all currently play for us, and in the same midfield.

Indeed Bailey in particular has developed a scoring record that is bordering on the absurdly impressive for a midfielder, and not one moreover who plays in an especially advanced role.

His overall record for the Addicks is 15 goals in 45 games, but since the Burnley away game on 31 Jan he has managed 10 goals in just 19 games, the type of regular scoring that only the goalhanging likes of Kevin Philips or Michael Owen have managed over their careers.

Speaking of strikers, we will probably face a former Addick in the shape of Scott McGleish, now in his third spell at the Orient, having carved out an impressive career as one of the lower divisions’ most consistent goalscorers, with over a century to his name.

He may be joined up front by fellow veteran James Scowcroft, a player seemingly linked with a move to Charlton every year for the past decade.

Meanwhile, the impressive winger Jason Demetriou will be one to watch, another whose future surely lies at a higher level. Charlton were rumoured to be interested in him too, back when we had some money.

Charlton have had a recent habit of putting in deflated performances, when cheered on by a sizeable away following. We may not end up victorious of course, but there would be little excuse for a repeat tonight.

Indeed whilst that mouthwatering midfield quartet remain at the club, and so long as our paper-thin squad remains blissfully injury-free, then on the limited evidence so far, we should have little to fear in this division. Parkinson should appropriately be judged in this rather expectant but honest context.

I expect him to line them up as follows: Elliott, Richardson, Youga, Llera, Dailly, Semedo, Shelvey, Bailey, Racon, Sam, Burton. Subs: Randolph, Spring, Basey, Wagstaff, Gray, Fleetwood, McLeod.

NY Addick predicts: Leyton Orient 1 (McGleish), Charlton 3 (Bailey, Racon, McLeod). Att: 7,911.


At 2:56 PM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

Hey, NYA, have you moved back to the UK? You seem to have been here for a long time this visit.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

No but we are back home for most of August....


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