Friday, November 05, 2010

Bee Sting?

An away tie at Barnet would ordinarily have been a perfect one for me (my parents live up the road), but instead I'm sat here jet lagged 6,000 miles away in San Francisco.

By the time the game takes place however, I'll be onboard a Virgin America flight to New York which thanks to their wi-fi facility, should mean I'll be able to listen to commentary at 35,000 feet, a new Charlton-supporting experience for sure.

Phil Parkinson's side has turned the overwhelming negativity that followed the Brighton defeat into considerable hope, and full credit to him and his players.

It's hard to overestimate how important Paul Benson's goal at Carlisle was, because recovering from what might have been a desperately disappointing 3-3 draw would have been extremely tough.

However opportunistic goals like that one are precisely why Benson was signed, and his six goals (five on the road) have rapidly proved the early doubters wrong.

More importantly one senses the tangible degree of fresh optimism that having a natural goalscorer in the side can bring to the entire side, and not before time.

Pairing him with Joe Anyinsah meanwhile seems to have been a stroke of genius from Parky too. One would have to go back to the Hunt/Mendonca days in the late-1990s to recall the last time the Addicks had two strikers scoring in unison.

With three wins on the spin with an unchanged side, Parky now faces a dilemma which might be termed a 'high class problem'.

Do you change a winning side in the low priority Cup competitions, but risk a humiliating exit that might knock confidence throughout the squad?

I think a reasonable compromise can easily be reached via a handful of changes, which would still make us comfortable favourites to proceed in both matches.

Of the three Cups we compete in, the Carling Cup should certainly be the lowest priority (at least the Johnstones Paint Trophy offers a realistic Wembley prospect).

The FA Cup does not offer that to us at this point, but who wouldn't feel a frisson of excitement if we entered the 3rd Round draw and were handed a rare break from League One tedium in the shape of high-profile Premiership opposition?

Barnet have got off to a poor start under ex-Gills boss Mark Stimson, perhaps not surprising given their meagre resources and last season's narrow escape.

Without some type of new stadium solution (which the local council are remarkably unhelpful towards), it's hard to see how Barnet have any medium-term hope of progressing.

Their crowds are low even by League Two standards but are boosted somewhat by the fact that Arsenal and Spurs never play at home on the same weekend, and thanks to Sky often neither plays at 3pm on a Saturday at all.

Their sloped pitch and ramshackle ground might be termed 'charming' but frankly it's ridiculous that League football is being played in such surroundings given the wealth that permeates the domestic game.

Barnet's million-pound rated striker (surely some mistake? - Ed.) Izale Mcleod is unavailable, but injury-hampered Grant Basey may be in contention.

His career has taken a massive backward step thanks in part to that awful tackle at Bristol Rovers, although Richard Murray implied he somewhat short-sightedly turned down an Aberdeen move, surely a better option than Barnet despite the personal upheaval?

I think when all is said and done, with a draw being the result to actively avoid at all costs, I think Parky will select an attacking line-up as follows: Worner, Francis, Fry, Fortune, Doherty, Reid, McCormack, Racon, Martin, Abbott, Anyinsah. Subs: Elliot, Dailly, Semedo, Benson, Sodje, Wagstaff, Jackson.

Barnet probably represent decent value to win at 4/1, but I'll back Charlton's newly confident side to put in another professional away day performance and progress 2-0.

NY Addick bets £10 on Charlton to win 2-0 (at 15/2)


At 6:53 PM, Anonymous KenJ said...

Martin isn't allowed to play, NYA.


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