Friday, September 04, 2009

Brentford Preview

Whilst Leeds and Charlton are setting a cracking early pace in League One, there are three other teams that remain unbeaten after five games.

This compares for example with League Two, where no team managed to enter August without defeat.

MK Dons are picking up where they left off under Paul Ince, whilst Millwall are quietly setting foundations for a promotion push with an unbeaten start, despite only scoring four goals in the process.

The fifth unbeaten side is of course tomorrow’s opponents Brentford, further evidencing the oft-repeated theory that promoted sides maintain their positive momentum, despite competing at a higher level.

This is perhaps not hugely surprising, especially in the two lower divisions where few clubs have outlandishly disproportionate wealth, and where distortions such as ‘parachute payments’ are not a factor.

Last season newly promoted Peterborough waltzed through League One, whilst the aforementioned MK Dons came mightily close to emulating them with what would have been an incredible ‘double double promotion’.

Lest it be forgotten meanwhile that Hull City were competing on the Football League’s fourth rung as recently as 2003/4, before their own double promotion to the Championship and just three years later, the Premiership.

Plymouth Argyle were another that managed back-to-back promotions from 2001-2003, and are now firmly ensconced in the Championship’s midtable.

Thus whilst it’s easy to dismiss the likes of Brentford as mere local cannon fodder, it should be noted that if such very visible confidence can be engendered by our own mere five-match winning run, imagine how good it must feel to be part of a team that has lost just 7 times in its past 51 matches?

Although the two clubs have only competed in the same division twice since the 1970s, they have more in common than merely wearing red and white, and being situated next to the Thames on opposite sides of town.

Both enjoyed their heyday in the years leading up to the War, and season 1934/35 was a title-winning one for each with the Addicks lifting the Third Division (South), and the Bees the old Second Division.

We subsequently enjoyed our own ‘double promotion’ in 1935/36 to join them in the First Division for the first time ourselves.

The following three consecutive seasons witnessed the remarkable sight of both Charlton and Brentford occupying top six positions throughout, with Charlton’s highest-ever finish of 2nd in 1936/37 being just four places above Brentford in 6th:

1. Manchester City 57
3. Arsenal 52
4. Derby County 49
5. Wolves 47

Had Hitler’s Germany not decided to rampage through Europe, who knows how football’s history books might have been rewritten. By way of comparison during that heady 1936/37 season, Spurs and West Ham finished 10th and 6th respectively in the Second Division.

Whilst Charlton managed to keep things intact enough to reach a couple of swift post-War FA Cup finals, and maintain First Division status for eleven seasons, Brentford were relegated immediately after League football recommenced.

In order perhaps to assist in drowning their sorrows, fans have a pub on each corner of Griffin Park to choose from, the only ground in the country with such an extravagance.

By 1954/55 they were back in Division Three (South), and they have managed just a single season since in the domestic game’s second tier (in 1992/93). On that occasion we eked out a 1-0 victory at The Valley, just four months after our return home from exile.

The visitors have injury worries tomorrow, and amongst others will be without former Addick striker Charlie McDonald, who has worked his way up from rejection by Charlton and a non-League tour of duty, to earn League contracts firstly at Southend United, and now Brentford.

Meanwhile a minor injury to Fraser Richardson threatens to force the first change upon Charlton’s winning team, with 18-year old Chris Solly likely to be offered a first start.

It is worth recalling that Jose Semedo has acquitted himself well at right-back in the past, but his outstanding performances in midfield suggest the introduction of Solly would be the least disruptive option.

However assuming there’s no risk of lasting damage, then based on the lack of clarity in reports, then one suspects Richardson might well play.

We are going to have to experience the bitter taste of a draw before too long, let alone a defeat. However so impressive have been the team’s performances, and given the additional resources acquired in midweek, we are entitled to feel confident but not conceited at this point.

The teams last met during Alan Curbishley’s final season, a crowd of 22,098 seeing Charlton secure a last-eight FA Cup berth, with a 3-1 victory. None of the 16 players on show that day remain at the club.

The lunchtime start may be an unusual and additional influential factor, with no player’s body clock adjusted to playing at that time, whether in training or for matches.

Unexpected results are often witnessed for example following Boxing Day’s typical early kick-offs, so punters may fancy an investment on an early goal for either side, as players wake up.

I think Parkinson’s late morning teamsheet will look as follows: Elliott, Richardson, Youga, Llera, Dailly, Semedo, Racon, Shelvey, Sam, Bailey, Burton. Subs: Randolph, Solly, Basey, Spring, Wagstaff, Tuna, McLeod.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 3 (Burton, Shelvey, McLeod), Brentford 0. Att:15,988.


At 12:04 AM, Anonymous Pedant said...

A very good background to the game, thanks.
I hope you're right about the scoreline particularly if McKenzie manages to score without even being on the bench !

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Well spotted - I've heard McKenzie is an 'impact' player, but that's ridiculous.

At 8:22 AM, Anonymous VFF said...

As a Charlton supporter, I am always prepared for the surprise result. Brentford did play in mid week and have some defensive worries alongside a couple of other injuries.

Good to see Captain, Nicky Bailey's comments today about not taking things for granted but wanting to win the next 5.


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