Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tough test at The Valley

Iain Dowie says of today's match against Bolton Wanderers at The Valley, 'It is a pressure game, but I cannot wait. We've not had an ideal start, but this is where character comes to the fore.'

Bolton are something of a bogey team for Charlton. We have lost our last five encounters with them and have a particularly poor record against them at home in the Premiership. Indeed, I remember them turning us over at The Valley when we were both in the old Division 1.

One positive note is that Nicholas Anelka will not be playing. He gave us grief at The Valley when he was with Manchester City. However, the referee is a northerner, Mike Dean from the Wirral and probably one of the most incompetent referees in the Premiership. He is particularly notorious for ignoring time wasting and fouls by Bolton.

Traore will be available and will presumably play, particularly given that Fortune was reported last night to have an ankle injury. Carson should stay in goal, Myhre's complaints notwithstanding.

The real problem is in the midfield. They put pressure on the defence by losing possession and playing too deep. They also give insufficient service to the forwards. I was not boosted by the news last night that 'Holland is fit'. Reid should be available and I would start him and Kishishev and drop Holland and Hughes. It's a shame that Bolano's work permit still hasn't come through.

The Fink Tank at The Times doesn't know how to call this game, giving a 35% chance of a home win, a 35.7% chance of an away win and a 29.3% chance of a draw. I am going to be optimistic and go for a 1-1 draw, giving Charlton their first point of the season.

Remember that if you live in a remote Kentish hamlet, and want to see the Kent team that plays in London, there is a Rickshaw service near you.


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