Friday, October 22, 2010

Phil Ender Carlisle?

Carlisle has been the scene of memorable moments in our history; tomorrow's events are more mundane but important nonetheless.

Last season we were well-beaten in Cumbria, and the defeat was a sharp reality check from which we never returned to the form that had seen us arrive with 29 points from 14 games.

Saturday's humiliation at the hands of a well-drilled and confident Brighton side felt like a watershed moment from which Parky might not recover. The question may simply be the amount of time he's allowed on life support before Murray switches it off.

Unlike Pardew, most are inclined to like the present incumbent on a personal level, which is probably why the dominant emotion this week amongst fans has been frustration not vitriol.

Frustration at the lack of tactical imagination. Frustration at the time taken for new signings to gel. Frustration that we are 58th in the League pyramid despite facing challenges that were tough, but hardly insurmountable.

Fans are fickle however which is why my previous post tried to inject a dose of realism into events.

A win tomorrow would put us on 19 points after 13 games, and all would feel relatively good again even if we won't exactly be dancing in the streets.

I'm conscious that this season is already having worrying parallels with 2008/9.

The previous season had seen us come out of the blocks flying, but after Xmas the momentum stalled amidst a flawed experiment with loan signings.

Just like 2009/10 in other words although Parky's side clung on to a play-off spot, albeit in a lower division.

Meanwhile whilst season 2008/9 was a disaster, early signs were not so ominous. A televised thumping of Reading was one of the best performances in recent memory.

By the same stage of this season (ie.12 games), the Addicks had 13 points, only three less than this season. The season did not yet threaten to be the utter embarassment that it ultimately transpired to be.

Pardew was given six more games before the reins were handed to Parky, and whilst most were happy to see the back of the egotist, his successor managed just 4 more wins alll season.

Most would agree that Richard Murray will give Parky at least until Xmas to turn things around, but as 2008/9 proved, the degree of negative compounding can be quite devastating.

In other words, I'd be inclined to think that if dismissal is in Murray's mind, it is better to either do it now or make a decision to give Parky at least the rest of this season (and perhaps even publicly state as much to stop the speculation).

I'm reasonably confident we are not relegation fodder with the current set-up, but a rash decision after say the next quartet of difficult games may have unintended consequences.

Likewise I'm confident Pardew would have kept us up in 2008/9, even though the correct decision in the summer would still have been dismissal.

The desire to get promotion this season is no less deperate than it was that season, with the parachute payments set to expire.

However there's a difference between desire and 'entitlement', and it's worth acknowledging the difference between the two lest we make more poorly-timed decisions and ill-considered appointments.

I had a drink with a fellow fan on Monday and we debated the rather daft notion espoused by Murray, that the club 'cannot' be profitable in League One.

The running costs of The Valley may indeed be higher than many peers, but surely no more than the likes of Southampton, Huddersfield, Sheff Weds and MK Dons.

The flipside of a large stadium of course is that you have plenty of seats to put bums on. Our average attendance of 15,404 is higher than the entire capacity of 14 of League One's stadia.

With substantial matchday revenue and other revenue sources that most clubs at this level are not able to generate (hospitality, banqueting etc.), there must be still more fat to be trimmed that could make us at least viable in League One (please Lord, let someone take Racon off our hands in January).

As if merely to emphasise how fine the margins are, an unexpected Addicks win tomorrow would draw us level with our hosts who currently sit in a play-off place, just three further points behind the Posh in 2nd.

A quick look over our shoulder meanwhile reminds us that no teams are cut adrift like Stockport were last season, and with four teams relegated to League Two the safety net may be set a little higher to avoid that particular catastrophic outcome.

Carlisle have relied upon the six goals of giant striker Gary Madine, although the threat of prison after pleading guilty to ABH hangs over the front man. Meanwhile ex-Charlton keeper Tony Caig will probably start on the bench.

Parky has hinted at changes on Saturday, voluntary as well as enforced. I would expect him to deploy a damage limitation approach, happy to play for a point or steal three if the chance arises.

He will be inclined to return Christian Dailly to central defence, although Madine's sheer presence may be better matched by Gary Doherty or even Miguel Llera, implying a possible return to the bench for Jon Fortune.

Johnnie Jackson is the most obvious replacement for Kyel Reid on the left flank, whilst Scott Wagstaff's all-round athleticism may be preferred to Lee Martin, whose impact may best be provided as a substitute.

Alan McCormack's more muscular approach may be preferred alongside Semedo, although frankly none of the limited options in central midfield fill one with much optimism. Later in the season I fancy Alex Stavrinou may have a role to play.

I'd expect Parky to want to see a target man alongside Paul Benson, with Abbott likely to be preferred although it's the type of game Akpo Sodje might relish.

When all is said and done, I not very confidently predict us to line up as follows: Elliot, Francis, Fry, Dailly, Doherty, Jackson, Wagstaff, McCormack, Semedo, Abbott, Benson. Subs: Worner, Fortune, Llera, Racon, Martin, Anyinsah, Sodje.

The negativity surrounding Charlton is not reflected in the odds, with the Addicks only a best-priced 5/2 to pick up a vital three points.

However as discussed above, I fancy Parky to approach the game with a point in mind and I think he might just get it, the home side to forge ahead but late changes to carve out a vital equalizer.

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


At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please apologise to your loyal fanbase for the worst titular pun in history.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger New York Addick said...

I was quite pleased with it, and anyhow surely "Don Key OT" was worse?

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Miss Kish said...

Blimey, that took me ages to work out the title. Thankfully the photo confirmed I was right. I always think it is dangerous to approach a game for a draw, surely a win is what is needed. Come on Parky, prove the doubters wrong for Charlton's sake at least.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Dave said...

NYA - have to say I needed the picture to get it. Missed Don Key OT, but agree that's worse/better. You are brave going for the draw.


Post a Comment

<< Home