Friday, January 05, 2007

Forest preview

Cups are realistically one route that Charlton could take into Europe, but we haven't been very good at seizing the opportunities in recent years, most recently by going out to Wycombe in the Carling Cup.

Many Charlton fans think that the cup is now an irrelevance and that we should concentrate on league survival. I'm not sure, for two reasons. First, a cup run would give us some badly needed funds. Second, it could well boost morale. That's why I hope Alan Pardew can lift the team to make a game of it against Forest tomorrow.

Forest must have seen the home fixture against a faltering Premiership club as an ideal draw, but they have been having a bad run recently. Defeated 5-0 by Oldham Athletic, they had two players sent off. So they will lack a defender and a midfielder, while another defender is cup tied because he is on loan from Tranmere.

Scott Carson will not be available because Liverpool don't want him cup tied. This was immediately taken as a sign by edgy Charlton fans that he is about to be sold off, but in fact it's prudent planning by 'Pool in case they reach the cup final and face a goalkeeping crisis. So it's the dependable Thomas Myhre in goal with Randolph on the bench.

With Young injured and Sankofa banned, there is a gap at right back. It could be filled by Simon Walton, back on loan from Ipswich or even by El Karkouri. I would favour moving him forward from defence into a holding midfield position that he has shown he could occupy. I would then use Kish at right back.

Hreidarsson still has a knee problem so it looks as if Jon Fortune will be brought in as a central defender. He also worries me. Eighty or ninety per cent of the time he is fine and then he makes a potentially disastrous error.

Holland, Hughes, Rommedahl and Thomas would be my midfield picks with Marcus Bent and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who scored against Chesterfield, up front.

1,028 Addicks have bought tickets, but I won't be going as I have a thousand page book manuscript to plough through over the weekend, plus I don't fancy getting spat on again from Forest fans in the upper tier. But Erith Addick Paul May, who fears no one, will be making the journey to the charming city by the Trent and will be reporting on the game.

I'm going for a 2-2 draw, leading to a replay at The Valley. I just hope I'm not going to hear 'Charlton's Woes Continue' stories at 5 p.m. tomorrow.


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