Saturday, March 11, 2006

All set for dress rehearsal

Middlesbrough continue to progress in the UEFA cup, but their domestic season now depends on success in the FA Cup and the same goes for Charlton. Tomorrow's league match serves as a dress rehearsal for the quarter final cup tie later in the month. However, win, lose or draw, one cannot read off tomorrow's result to the more vital cup game when much more is at stake and Boro may well play for the draw and a replay at the Riverside.

Until last year we had not been beaten at home by Boro in the Premiership. Otherwise we had won 1-0 three times and drawn twice. We have never scored more than one goal at home against Boro in the Premiership, although one of my early Valley memories is of their being beaten 8-1.

The Sub-Standard thinks that Boro will be tired by their match against Roma and the Fink Tank gives a 55% chance of a home win and only a 22% chance of a Boro victory. Much depends on which Boro side turns up on the day. However, Boro have now recovered from a slump that was in part the result of injuries. Yakubu can clearly find the back of the net, Hasselbaink can be mercurial but is often underrated and Downing is clearly a threat.

I wouldn't expect to see big changes in the Charlton line up, although hopefully Thomas might start. Whatever stattos and ultra whingers say, the Addicks are unlikely to be relegated as is shown by the 33-1 odds. However, each place further up in the table is worth a lot of money. Fans are understandably calling for more entertainment, those who run the business are necessarily more cautious. But surely a fourth 0-0 draw is not possible?

My participation in a trial of a new drug has given me some side effects, so Erith Addick Paul May is standing by if needed to do the match report.


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