Friday, September 03, 2010

Grecian 2010

Exeter would hardly be considered a hotbed of sport, but with its rugby team (Exeter Chiefs) enjoying promotion to the Guinness Premiership, the local football team has temporarily lost bragging rights.

The Grecians maintained their belief in passing football under young snappily-dressed manager Paul Tisdale last season, and were rewarded with survival by just a point.

Defeated just four times at home however, they also notably conceded fewer goals on their patch than runaway champions Norwich. This is anything but a straightforward looking game for the Addicks.

However, Exeter’s season has begun disappointingly suggesting another relegation battle beckons. Respectable draws against Colchester and Bristol Rovers, were followed by a 3-0 thumping at Leyton Orient.

Admittedly short-term results were put in perspective by the tragic death of striker Adam Stansfield last month, and his no.9 shirt has been retired for nine seasons as a mark of respect.

After a pair of disappointing League One performances themselves, Charlton risk having a third consecutive game without a win. This would hardly be a disaster of course, but this did not occur last season until December 28th (after an away draw at Brentford).

As promised by Richard Murray, the club brought in three players in the exact positions Parky was seeking additional cover. The most important addition will hopefully turn out to be Paul Benson, on whose shoulders now rests the responsibility of scoring the goals that we are presently lacking.

With Pawel Abbott’s role as the link-up man crucial to the fairly direct way that the gaffer likes us to play, the arrival of Benson surely signals that a true 4-4-2 beckons (as opposed to the 4-4-1-1 that has previously seen Lee Martin utilised ‘in the hole’).

Despite two goals so far this season, Scott Wagstaff’s position appears under grave threat with the generally impressive Martin unlikely to be dropped to the bench to accommodate Benson. Indeed, Martin occupied the right wing in Tuesday’s nights paintball win over Dagenham.

However Parky has waxed lyrical in the past about Wagstaff’s athleticism, a trait he may favour on the road for now with Martin ready to be utilised as (in some cases a very early) substitute.

Christian Dailly is extremely doubtful, which likely implies another chance for Miguel Llera and a benchwarming seat for new old boy Jon Fortune.

Elsewhere, Matt Fry’s outstanding but meaningless goal at Huddersfield will have furthered his claims for a starting berth, with current incumbent left-back Johnny Jackson’s performances rather flattering to deceive.

Therry Racon’s rare midweek goal will have improved his claims, but Parky will prefer the solidity of Semedo alongside McCormack for now, especially away from home.

Rob Elliott will undergo a late fitness test meanwhile, with Ross Worner having been thrown in to the fray considerably earlier than the club surely would have liked.

Indeed, if Elliott’s back problems continue one would imagine the club would utilise the ‘emergency loan’ market rather than somewhat unfairly expecting Worner to be ready for such regular action.

I expect us to line up as follows: Elliott, Francis, Jackson, Llera, Doherty, Semedo, McCormack, Reid, Wagstaff, Abbott, Benson. Subs: Worner, Fry, Fortune, Anyinsah, Martin, Sodje, Solly.

This is the type of fixture that the Addicks really need to be winning regularly if automatic promotion is going to be a realistic prospect, and indeed last season we did a pretty good job of ticking off the away wins at League One’s less glamorous locations.

However for my charity bet, I’m going to favour the same 1-1 scoreline that we achieved last season.

NY Addick bets £10 on 1-1 correct score (at 6/1)


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