Sunday, September 27, 2009

Colchester preview

Our second midweek League One fixture of the season, is another relatively local one as we travel to the fussily named Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester.

Compared to the cramped surroundings of Layer Road that many pampered footballers never 'fancied', this presumably represents a welcome change for teams visiting this historic corner of Essex.

Unfortunately as seems to be a constant theme throughout the country, the stadium has seemingly been designed with cost as the key variable, and to hell with architectural imagination.

Phil Parkinson is unlikely to receive a warm welcome, which seems a little unfair. He led the Us to their first ever promotion to domestic football's second tier, and left them with a squad strong enough to finish in a creditable 10th position in the Championship.

With hindsight, the allure of a move to the insalubrious surroundings of Hull was not obvious, especially as the Tigers had just finished in 21st place in the division Colchester would be joining.

Whilst the money must have been much more favourable, one wonders just how many managers reduce their long-term remuneration (surely the key metric), by accepting a better-paid job as the 'default option', before swiftly being rendered unemployed again.

Having been feted as a hero in the pleasant surroundings of rural Essex, Parkinson lasted just a matter of months on Humberside, and would have to wait two years before parking his car in the space marked 'MANAGER' again.

This season is only the fifth time that the clubs have been in the same division. The most recent was of course 2007/8 when three goals in the two fixtures from Kevin Lisbie, ensured the Addicks only secured one point from a possible six.

Lisbie is back in Essex on loan after failing to justify his £600,000 transfer fee up the road in Ipswich, but with six goals already to his name this season, perhaps he has finally found his level.

The Addicks returned to winning ways on Saturday with a rather unconvincing win, Parkinson finally forced to change his starting line-up with the introduction of Matt Spring.

A last-gasp winner for Leeds prevented us from reclaiming top spot, but we continue to tick along nicely, having already built a nine-point cushion from play-off hunting Swindon in 7th place.

Whilst the outstanding form of Leeds has been somewhat frustrating, there is at least room for both clubs to embark on a two-pronged promotion procession from now until May.

Colchester also win their first three games, but watched as yet another manager followed the lucre. This time around it was Paul Lambert moving to Norwich, having signalled his ability with a 7-1 win there on the opening day.

It was during this unwelcome period of instability that Colchester suffered their only two defeats, both times by just a single goal to promotion-chasing rivals (MK Dons and Leeds).

Since his deserved return to management meanwhile, Aidy Boothroyd remains unbeaten, guiding his new side to three away draws at Southampton, Swindon and Tranmere, and a home win over Hartlepool.

His generally successful spell at Watford did not win him many admirers amongst the purists, but his team's organisation and keen work ethic, combined with his own motivational style achieved results on limited resources.

However Charlton have shown no evidence this season that they are unwilling to match League One sides physically.

With Leeds facing a straightforward-looking home game with Carlisle on the same night, we would risk being fully eight points behind the leaders after just eleven games.

This scenario could befall us if we slip up at both Colchester, and then four days later at Elland Road. Having won our first six games, and standing unbeaten after nine, this would be rather extraordinary.

However it's not a scenario I expect to evolve, because just as the home fans on Tuesday night once said, "In Parkinson, we trust."

NY Addick predicts: Colchester 1 (Lisbie), Charlton 3 (Spring, Sam, McLeod). Att: 6,589.


At 8:16 AM, Blogger StoneMuse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:20 AM, Blogger StoneMuse said...

Good review mate, I'm going for 2-1 to us.


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