Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Essex Boys

Thanks to Saturday’s postponement, Chris Powell continues his relatively gentle introduction to managerial life with a home game against fellow 38-pointers, Colchester.

Both clubs have lost fewer games than Bournemouth in 2nd place, but too many draws (8 and 11 respectively) have consigned the Addicks and U’s to 8th and 9th position instead.

In light of Crawley Town’s FA Cup exploits, it’s worth noting that Colchester were the first non-League club post-War to reach the Fifth Round of the Cup, a couple of years before their election to the Football League.

With both Phil Parkinson and Mark Kinsella having been sacked since the teams met in December, the links between the clubs have lessened somewhat, although visiting captain Kemal Izzet and striker Dave Mooney have Charlton connections, whilst Johnnie Jackson played over 100 games for Colchester during two spells.

The town is best known for its Roman roots and for being the place that Blur come from (I’ll let you decide which of those is the more relevant), but from a personal standpoint it’s also the town where my Dad was living and studying when he met my Mum.

I’ll be making my own personal one-man protest against Powell’s appointment by refusing to attend tonight. Only joking, I’ve got a chest infection which ensured my recent trip to the USA was a miserable one.

Shame really, because our new-look squad has an exciting look to it, albeit a rather unbalanced one.

For example we have four attack-minded speedsters (Reid, Wagstaff, Eccleston, Wright-Phillips) and three further strikers (Anyinsah, Benson, Abbott), yet Powell would do well to pick more than three of them without leaving us exposed in other areas.

Meanwhile our central midfield is positively ponderous, with less creativity than an MP’s expense claim. And defensively we move slower than a queue at the post office (enough analogies – Ed.).

Indeed whilst the loan window remains open for now, two strikers and a left-back would not have seemed our top priority at the start of January so we have to hope Powell has a brilliant masterplan that we are not aware of (maybe it’s an exciting 4-2-4 formation).

In other news, Alex Dyer was confirmed as Powell's no.2 in a well-telegraphed appointment.

Dyer was an important but extremely limited player during our transitional years from 1990-93, and I recall liking him even though he wasn't very good. Maybe he's a better coach.

With a full League One programme in store, it is vital that Charlton secure at least a point tonight to keep in touch with the play-off race else we may find ourselves looking anxiously over our shoulder at the relegation zone just eight points away right now (let alone after tonight).

Finally it will be interesting to see tonight’s attendance, in order to gauge how much momentum the Powell factor has in this regard.

Our two midweek evening home games this season have attracted crowds of just 13,155 (MK Dons) and 13,468 (Bristol R), although in truth this includes many season ticket holders who did not actually attend.

As a result the headline attendance may not be materially higher, but the actual one might be. I’d expect a figure around 14,000 to be disclosed.


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