"Down Greenwich reach
Past the Isle of Dogs"
It’s fairly typical of the mentality of a Walsall supporter who, when faced with a game against a high-flying in-form side when the vast majority (see poll) forecast a thumping defeat, regards a 2-2 draw as a couple of points dropped!! It seems that we are unable to play out time when that tactic is called for, and quite a few games have seen us concede very late on - this has cost us points occasionally, but it has also damaged our goal difference constantly, and if Dean Keates is correct in saying that we are verging on a relegation battle then goal difference will probably play a part in deciding the final placings.
Until a couple of games ago Charlton Athletic had been in excellent form, but Christmas has seen them beaten twice - they “did a Walsall” at Coventry City, losing to an 89th minute goal, and at Barnsley they were reduced to 10 men in the 6th minute of injury time when captain Chris Solly was red-carded (2 yellows). Nevertheless they are still 11 points ahead of ourselves, and they can concentrate on League One since being dumped out of the FA Cup at home by Doncaster Rovers. When we travel to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday they will be at home to Sunderland - no prizes for guessing which game will have the higher attendance!! There will probably be one familiar name (not face) in the Addicks’ line-up in Krystian Bielik, now injury-free… Charlton Athletic’s current League One form:-
8 Dec Blackpool (A) Lost 2-1
11 Dec Portsmouth (A) Won 1-2
15 Dec AFC Wimbledon (H) Won 2-0
22 Dec Gillingham (H) Won 2-0
26 Dec Coventry City (A) Lost 2-1
29 Dec Barnsley (A) Lost 2-1
Whatever Dean Keates said to his squad ahead of the Luton Town game certainly appeared to work in terms of effort coupled with attitude, with a performance that was far removed from the shambles against Bristol Rovers and most of the Bradford City fixture. He also seemed to have got his team selection right, and the return of Joe Edwards has been a good omen. Tinkering with the starting line-up isn’t always recommended (especially after a good showing), but some changes may be indicated depending on the reports he will no doubt receive as to the strengths and/or weaknesses in Charlton’s play. All will be revealed on Tuesday…
Prediction? As with the Luton Town game, a point from this one would be quite an achievement, and in the spirit of optimism for which we are noted let’s opt for a 1-1 result with Nicky Devlin confounding his critics by copying Scott Dann’s incredible solo goal from years gone by!!