Thursday, 26 November 2009

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Good news on Youga

Many of the Addickted were concerned when they saw Kelly Youga limp off the pitch injured at last night's match against Bristol Rovers. Youga has been an ever present this system and has shown him to be comfortable either at left or right back.

However, the news appears to be relatively good. Youga was due to have a scan on his knee this morning. Addicks assistant supremo Tim Breacker explained, 'He got caught on his knee. We think it's more of a bruise than a twist and hopefully it will settle down quickly.'

With a week to the next match at Brighton, Youga should be available.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Four goal Charlton secure three points

Miguel Llera came in for the suspended Sam Sodje with Jonjo Shelvey replacing Thierry Racon in midfield for the clash with Bristol Rovers, reports Philippa Nicholson from The Valley. Conditions were blustery.

Charlton applied early pressure, but a foul was awarded against Youga. The pressure was maintained and a little after three minutes Mooney scored for the Addicks. To create the goal Semedo had fed Sam, Burton became involved, Andersen - the keeper on loan - palmed the shot away but Mooney was there waiting to pounce.

The Addicks were unable to take advantage of a free kick which was cleared. Rovers advanced but Semedo cleared. A cross from Sam was put out of play by Anthony for Charlton's first corner of the evening. The referee had warned Rovers players to cut out their trouble making, Basey's corner came in, Llera was bundled over and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Burton converted well, sending the keeper the wrong way, to put the Addicks 2-0 ahead.

The Addicks launched another attack but Mooney's effort went into the arms of the keeper. Mooney went in behind the back line, but Anthony was able to scoop the ball away. As Charlton kept up the pressure, they won another corner, but Rovers were able to partially clear.

Youga went down and was hobbling after treatment. Rovers won a corner, but Charlton won a free kick. Youga had to be taken off which was a shame given how well he had combined with Sam. Omosuzi replaced Youga. After just four minutes on the pitch Omosuzi managed to get himself booked. The free kick was dealt with well by Ikeme.

A foul on Omosuzi by Campbell won Charlton a free kick. Basey's effort was over hit went out of play for a Rovers goal kick. A Rovers free kick was drifting goalwards, but Ikeme was alert and tipped the ball away for a corner from which Sam broke from a Shelvey clearance, but he was unable to combine with Mooney.

Semedo was fouled by Hughes and Charlton were awarded a free kick, but Basey's effort was unproductive. Sam put in a great cross, Shelvey's shot hit Mooney and Andersen was able to make the save.

Rovers were awarded a penalty for some scuffling in the area after a rare attack in which Kuffour was manhandled and Dailly was shown a yellow card, although Llera seemed to be involved. Hughes made it 2-1 by beating Ikeme five minutes before the break.

Charlton won a free kick but Llera put the ball over the bar. Three minutes of time were added on.

Half time: Addicks 2, Gasheads 1

There was a scrappy start to the second half. Charlton won a corner. Basey's effort was punched away by Andersen and Omosuzi put the ball well over. Rovers threatened, but Omosuzi intervened well.

Dailly had to clear after Rovers threatened. They continued the pressure and Omosuzi had to concede the corner. Lines bundled the ball home with a header to make it 2-2.

Rovers won a free kick just outside the penalty area. Llera cleared well and Charlton broke, but Rovers were able to defend. Shelvey shot from distance, but it was just wide, although the keeper probably had it covered. Sam fed Burton but the keeper was able to gather.

Sam was booked for a challenge on Campbell. Rovers threatened again from a throw in and Blizzard put the ball just wide. Dailly played a long pass, Burton turned provider for Mooney, the ball went on the crossbar, the keeper failed to clear and captain Nicky Bailey scrambled the ball across the line to make it 3-2.

Semedo came close to a fourth goal, but a deflection took it wide. Bailey's corner was a good one, but it was palmed away. Blizzard was taken off and Swallow as brought on for Rovers.

Shelvey, who had been quieter in the second half, was taken off and replaced by Wagstaff. Coles pulled back Burton and was shown a yellow card as the rain lashed down. Swallow put in a decent cross which was deflected behind by Omosuzi. Rovers won a second corner which led to a Charlton goal kick.

Basey covered well as Kuffour threatened, shepherding the ball back to Ikeme. Sam was hauled back by Lines and received a yellow but there was some uncertainty about whether it was a second. Apparently it was Baldwin who was booked in the first half. Akpo Sodje was brought on to be replaced by Mooney.

Basey put in a great cross, the keeper palmed it away but Wagstaff worked well to win the corner. Basey's corner came in and super sub Akpo Sodje scored to make it 4-2. Williams was replaced by Wright for Rovers as their fans started to make their way to the exit.

Charlton threatened to score a fifth but the referee stopped the game because of a head injury to Anthony. Four minutes of time were added on. Trollope lost it with the fourth official. Duffy got a yellow card for dissent.

It was a battling performance with an erratic referee that kept Charlton securely in 2nd place.

Toughest trip of the season

They're billing it as 'one of the toughest trips of the season' down in Bristol against the 'big boys' of Charlton Athletic. They seem to think we have a big squad, whereas in reality it is quite thin in quality.

Of course, the Rovers spin strategy makes sense. Win and it will be a miracle, a draw will be a major achievement and a loss will be to be expected against the Valley 'money boys'. Read more here: Rovers

West Malling's Philippa Nicholson will be reporting on tonight's match.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Sodje sent off, his brother equalises

That cider was good! Parky made minimal changes for today's match against Yeovil, writes Erith Addick Paul May,limited to what was needed to replace the injured Frazer Richardson. Grant Basey came in at left back with Kelly Youga switching across to the right. Nick Bailey was retained in central midfield and Carl Ikeme in goal. The 1700 Charlton fans were suffering torrential rain and strong winds on the terrace.

Charlton started brightly on the attack, but then Dailly had to deal with a moment of danger. Danger loomed again and Ikeme had to make a good save from Mason. Burton was caught offside as the rain came down horizontally. Standing water could be seen on the pitch. The wind was behind the home side who were playing towards the Addickted.

Youga was looking strong in defence. Basey had a shot on goal but it went wide. Basey did well to take the ball off Welsh in attack. Racon went past two defenders well and won a corner kick taken by Bailey which was punched clear by McCarthy in the Yeovil goal.

Mooney and Burton combined well, but Yeovil defended well. A long ball came in over the Charlton defence Sodje brought down Mason on the edge of the area. Sodje got the first Charlton red card of the season. The free kick went straight at the keeper.

Mooney had to be taken off and replaced by Llera. Semedo was booked for a foul. Yeovil won a corner, but it was caught by the wind and went straight out of play.

Sam did well to win a corner, but it was unproductive. Llera put in a good tackle to deal with a Yeovil attack. Racon was fouled, but the referee gave a throw in to Yeovil. Racon broke away and won a free kick halfway inside the Yeovil half. It was a good free kick but McCarthy in the Yeovil goal dealt well with the ball.

Dailly headed away a Yeovil free kick. It seemed to be raining even harder. Ikeme's clearance went backwards in the wind. Yeovil won the midfield battle, Okiba burst through and the Spurs loan player put Yeovil ahead just before the half time whistle. Two minutes were added on. Caulker put the ball over the bar for Yeovil.

Half time: Glovers 1, Addicks 0

Akpo Sodje was brought on for Racon at half time, creating what looked like a 2-3-4, and won an early free kick for Charlton. Llera took an excellent free kick and Akpo Sodje was waiting to pounce and out the ball in the back of the net but was ruled offside. Charlton started the half well.

Charlton won a corner off a Semedo cross, but the wind took the ball beyond Llera off Basey's corner. Dailly conceded a free kick and was given a ticking off by the referee. The flag went up for offside.

Akpo Sodje slammed the ball into the top corner from 25 yards out to make it 1-1. From the re-start, a clearance under pressure from McCarthy was put out for a corner by the wind, leading to a second.

Sodje burst through, he was one on one with the keeper, the keeper got a touch and it went off the post for a corner, but the ball went over the crossbar. Welsh came off for Yeovil and Dean Bowditch came on.

The keeper had to tip over a ball from Sodje. Sam took the corner, but Llera could not connect. An attempt by Bailey went over into the Charlton fans. An effort by Sam went wide. Yeovil took off Murray.

Hutchings was booked for handball, giving Charlton a free kick in a promising position. Basey's free kick was excellent and McCarthy had to touch it stop it going in at the far post. The corner was unproductive.

Sam's effort was blocked on the line by Dutch defender Starn and then Sodje was denied on the line as well. Sam went past two defenders and Burton's effort was blocked. Charlton were well on top, but they could they get the ball in the net?

Charlton won another corner, but Bailey's effort was cleared. Youga was given a yellow card for a foul on Bowditch. Yeovil made a rare attack, but Kalala's effort was poor. Yeovil made their third substitution with Hutchings going off and Nathan Smith came on.

Basey won a free kick for Charlton. Sodje was somewhat harshly judged to have pushed his marker. Sodje got a free kick for a push in the back on the edge of the area. Bailey's effort went into the wall. The pressure was kept up, but eventually Yeovil won a goal kick.

Yeovil won a fortunate corner, but the ball went behind for a goal kick. A shot by Bailey was deflected for a corner by Caulker. Charlton won a second off Bailey's effort. McCarthy touched Basey's corner on to the crossbar. Bailey took the third, but it was cleared.

Yeovil counter attacked after more Charlton pressure. Bowditch won a free kick as the 90 minutes approached. Three minutes of time were added on.

It was a storming performance in front of the crowd of 5,632 by 10 man Charlton in atrocious conditions.

Millwall lost 0-2 at home to Wycombe. Southampton and Norwich drew and Oldham recovered a two goal deficit to draw with Colchester so with MK Dons losing yesterday Charlton remain comfortably in 2nd place.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Scilly scores



The teams make their way to the Garrison Field

In the World's Smallest Football League, the Woolpack Wanderers have won all three matches so far. Last week the Garrison Gunners went down 13-3 despite an emergency loan of four players from their rivals and last Sunday they managed a more respectable 8-2 defeat. Nothing more has been heard of a controversial plan to bring in an off island player from Tresco.

Remember you can hear me each week on the Radio Scilly sports show on Fridays from 5 to 6.

Yeovil preview



It's yours truly Paul May doing your match preview today and I will be given you a match report tomorrow. I'm looking forward to consuming some of the local brew before the match. No surprises about the name of one of the fan sites: Ciderspace

When non-league teams were effectively kept out of the Football League, Yeovil Town were the leading non-league team, famous for their giant killing exploits on their sloping pitch. The ground has now moved to an industrial estate.

I don't know much about Yeovil itself, but I do remember that helicopter firm Westland Yeovil used to have a team in the Western League. Paddy Ashdown used to be the MP and got assaulted once when he went into the town on a Friday night. The police rebuked him for going there which maybe says something about the local ambience.

The Glovers have down well to get into League 1 and stay there on relatively small attendances. For a team like them, taking scalps from 'big' clubs like Charlton is what gives meaning to their season.

Yeovil are currently mid-table and have only lost one game at home this season, although they have drawn three. They are something of draw specialists as they have also shared the points away three times. They have only scored two goals fewer than the Addicks at home, but have let in three more.

Their most prolific goalscorer is defender Ryan Mason who has put four in the net. Andrew Welsh has provided the most assists, seven in all. Player-manager 'Skivo' is the fans' hero, but is unlikely to appear. Midfielder Kieran Murtagh is also highly rated. Dutch defender Stefan Starn was rated as an exciting addition to the dressing room after he was let go by Oldham.

Frazer Richardson is not available for Charlton which is a blow as I rate him as one of our most influential players. It's also difficult to know who to replace him with as Omosuzi has failed to impress. Youga can play there, but he is not as comfortable as in his normal position. Other suggestions have been Semedo and even Christian Dailly.

Elliot is not fit yet, which probably means Ikeme in goal although many fans would prefer Randolph.

This is not going to be easy, but it is the kind of match we need to win. I am quite confident and am looking for a 2-1 win for the Addicks.

If you see me there, say hello.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Doubts about Dickson

Bristol Rovers boss Paul Trollope is uncertain whether Chris Dickson is the real deal: Dickson

I am travelling to Finland and Spain over the next couple of weeks so Paul May will temporarily be in charge while we sort out the future of the blog.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Brakes beat Blues

Leamington marked the home debut of new manager Paul Holleran tonight (he is a former Blues player) with a 3-2 victory over Birmingham City in the Senior Cup. The Blues side included the likes of Lee Carsley. The match was played at a furious pace but Brakes well up for it. Chris Kiely was back in goal and made some good saves. Attendance 810.

With Charlton's victory on Saturday, the Blaze winning both their games over the weekend and staying top of the Elite League and now this result, it's been a good few days in sporting terms.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Team answer moaners

Charlton gave a convincing answer to the moaners today by thumping third placed Milton Keynes Dons 5-1 at The Valley. I did not take notes as usual, but I felt that a victory on that scale justified temporarily ending the suspension of this blog.

After gifting MK Dons an early goal, the Addicks fought back with skill and determination, although the strong wind blowing agsinst them made their task difficult in the first half. Their passing was fluent and each of the goals was well taken. There could well have been more but for the Dons keeper.

Much reading off of the recent form of the two teams has taken place in the last few days, leading to predictions of an away win despite Charlton's strong form at The Valley. Paradoxically, this may have helped us as Dons gave the impression that they thought this would be an easy three points. Those who favour Paul Ince as a manager might reflect on their frequent resort to fouling and arguing with the referee. Might this be a tradition carried over from Manchester United? No one wonder the yellow card was flourished regularly against them.

There's a reluctance to give Parky credit for anything that goes right but playing Mooney up front with Burton worked well, as did having Bailey in the centre and Racon on the wing.

Charlton consolidated their second place in the league, and are now three points ahead of MK Dons and Colchester who drew at home against Exeter, but still lag behind in the much vaunted form table.

It was interesting to read how the negativists have attempted to construct a narrative about this result. It has been pointed out that it is only one result and that is true. Nevertheless, it was important to beat one of the other automatic promotion claimants convincingly and Parkinson must have got something right to have us three points clear in 2nd place.

Another view is that we were lucky and the match could have easily gone the other way. If it hadn't been for Youga's clearance off the line and Dailly's apparent handball, we could have gone 0-2 behind and it would have been a very different story. The referee thought that Dailly was pushed and it was a change to have a referee who didn't feel that he had to prove that he wasn't a 'homer' by giving every marginal decision to the opposition.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to David Mooney who remarked this was something they did not have at Reading. He made a difference up front showing pace, skill and determination. Phil Parkinson's most controversial selection was Carl Ikeme. Many Addicks feel that a former Academy player should always be given the nod over a loan player. But Parky sees Randolph in training every week and knows about his attitude. Ikeme was off his line for the MK goal, but made one good save. Sodje had a good game and took his goal well. Dailly was reliable as ever, even if he did have to use his hand at one crucial point. Youga was not at his best, but made a vital clearance off the line. Richardson was at fault for the first goal and eventually had to be withdrawn. I did wonder if he was one hundred per cent fit. Semedo was a little subdued and not at his very best. Bailey had a much improved match and although his goal was straightforward, it was well taken. Sam had a good game, rarely lasting all 90 minutes. I thought that his goal was the best in the match and should be considered for goal of the season. He also provided two assists. Racon was more effective in his new position. Burton had some nice touches and took his goal well. Basey showed that he is a reliable and competent substitute when he came on. McKenize showed again that he can cause the opposition trouble. The loan signing of Sodje Major caused some controversy among fans before the game. But loan signings are the name of the game at this level. He looked very strong and had good pace. This is all part of the preparation for Burton's op.

Juneau the Soccer Cat gave the Hiss of the Match to MK Dons captain Aaron Wilbraham. He was constantly arguing with the referee, all the way to the tunnel at half time. He was lucky not to get booked. Juneau wishes to point out that her name is not Juno. As an all American cat, she is named after the capital of Alaska, although she is not a fan of Sarah Palin and her own home state is, of course, Maine.

Crowd rating The franchisees were very noisy, although they soon stopped their chants of 'Northwich Victoria'. The Addickted were able to out chant the Bletchley boys and Parky thanked them for their continuing support after Charlton had gone behind.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Blog suspended

This blog is being suspended for a while. The negativity and pessimism of Charlton fans has really become too much for me. It may be that fans of all clubs are negative or it may be that there is something in the view of Inspector Sands that the Addickted are subject to a particular kind of suburban misery. It's noticeable that when we get a win there are few comments on the list run by Glynne Jones, but get a poor result and there is a torrent of complaint.

Charlton are 2nd in the table but there are demands for the manager to be sacked. OK, we lost to a non-league club for the first time in our history, but have the managers of Crewe, Grismby, Shrewsbury and Yeovil been sacked? Fans keep going on about the form table, but it is the real table that matters.

Just to reiterate some messages I have been trying to put across:
1. Phil Parkinson is not a brilliant manager, but he is what we can afford and any replacement would face the same constraints.
2. We have a thin squad which has been hit by injury to key players. The club doesn't have money to spend on new players.
3. Realistically the best we can hope for is a play off place.

Apart from the negativity making following Charlton a dismal experience, it doesn't help when we face a key game like that on Saturday and the fans start getting on the back of players.

As far as Wednesday's game is concerned, I don't really have any suggestions to make about who should play up front. Indeed, I find match previews difficult anyway and they are better done by some other blogs. I would just make the following comments:
1. Burton: playing through the main barrier, needs to be rested for Saturday.
2. McLeod: not up to the standard required.
3. McKenzie: still a bit of an unknown quantity, but perhaps could start.
4. Mooney: not cup tied, so could be played.
5. Tuna: disappointing in the FA Youth Cup, I am told.

At the moment, Charlton is the sourest aspect of my life and that is not a satisfactory state of affairs. I do not feel that reasoned argument gets anywhere given the embedded negativity. So I will take a break for a while and possibly come back refreshed at a later date.

Monday, 9 November 2009

We are top of the League!

That was the chant at the Coventry Skydome last night after Coventry Blaze beat Hull Stingrays 5-2. Admittedly, Hull lacked much sting, but Coventry's fifth goal was one of the best I have seen in hockey. Derek Campbell rounded the back of the net and put the pick into the narrow gap between the net minder and the post.

There were a couple of fights and Hull had one of their charm merchants sent off.

The Bloke Beside Me was equipped with a loud hailer to direct insults at the opposition bench beneath us (and they did look riled). Apparently, the etiquette is that you musn't swear, so he thought that his most effective insult was to call a Stingray a 'toenail'.

At least I didn't have another weekend in which all three teams lost.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Charlton out of FA Cup

Charlton were knocked out of the FA Cup by a non-league club for their first time in their history today when they went down 1-0 to Northwich Victoria, the winning goal being scored by a student who came on as a substitute. It is difficult to argue that Northwich did not deserve their win.

The McLeod and Shelvey combo never worked up front and the midfield was below its best, particularly Racon while Semedo was also poor. Brave defending by Dailly and great work by Randolph stopped Northwich scoring in the first half. Charlton never came close. Randolph could probably have stopped the goal if he had kept on coming.

McLeod was lucky not to get red carded for use of the elbow at the start of the first half, fortunately for him the referee had only just put his contact lenses in (incidentally, I think the ref had a good game). We looked a bit livelier when McKenzie and Burton came on, but not by much.

I'm not that bothered about being out of the cup, but the manner of the exit is clearly embarrassing. Whether it will really matter at the end of the season is doubtful. However, in the short run it will trigger off the negativity that is never far below the surface at Charlton. Moaners at least have something to moan about.

I see that the News Shopper is calling it 'the most embarrassing defeat in Charlton's 104 year history': Report . Typical hyperbole and shows a lack of knowledge of the club's history.

Jerome Thomas: what was wrong at Charlton

Sulky or silky? Jerome Thomas has no doubts about his contribution at Charlton as he told 4-4-2 magazine: 'I played in 22 consecutive games [in the Premiership], proving beyond doubt that I could play at that level, and scored and set up a numer of goals. I remember a screamer against Spurs.'

'To think where the club is now is crazy,' Thomas commented. 'But I did sense a lack of ambition and when you're in the comfort zone it can become a dangerous place. There didn't appear to be that desire among the players to push on for Europe or strive to break into international football, and the lack of competition for places acclerated the malaise. With Curbs leaving and a host of managers following, it was a recipe for disaster.'

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Do you know who my dad is?

Told that he was being dropped as Leamington's keeper for today's game against Truro City, Chris Kiely left the New Windmill Ground. With Leamington's reserve keeeper a sixth former at North Leamington school, Ryan Northmore, said to be from Weston-super-Mare wore the keeper's jersey.

It was all to no avail as defensive errors once again saw Leamington collapse at home with Truro winning 1-3. It also has to be said that the Truro side, largely made up of ex-Football League players were more fluent in their passing and much more coordinated: they knew where each other were.

Truro went ahead on two minutes when the keeper and a Brakes defender got in each other's way, giving an easy opportunity to former Manchester United player Andy Taylor. The Cornish flag was waved vigorously by the quite large contingent of visiting supporters who had made the long journey up country. This was the first meeting between the two sides and one of the first occasions the chant of 'Come On City' has been heard at the New Windmill Ground.

The game was effectively put beyond Leamington's reach on eleven minutes. With the Brakes defence at sixes and sevens, Les Athill scored for the visitors. Brakes tried to step up a gear, but were unable to break Truro down.

Half time: Brakes 0, White Tigers 2

Things brightened up for Brakes on 48 minutes when they broke towards the Harbury Lane end and Bello scored. For a time Brakes were in the game more and Truro had to clear the ball off their goal line at one point.

However, the match was put beyond doubt on 65 minutes when Tuohy fouled a Truro player in the area. Barry McConnell, who played over 200 games for Exeter City, stepped up to score from a well taken penalty.

After that Truro could have scored a fourth. Brakes fought on, but never really looked like scoring. Andy Gregory and Ryan Parisi worked hard for Brakes in defence.

With a tough game next week away against Cambridge City and then a home game against Birmingham City, the new manager is going to have his work cut out if an appointment is made within the next few days.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Northwich spot chinks in Charlton's armour

Northwich Victoria have been watching Charlton and think they may have spotted a few chinks in their armour that they can exploit: Banana skin

It has been confirmed that Darren Randolph will be in goal for the Addicks. Hopefully, we will put out a reasonably strong side overall, given that we do not want the humiliation of being defeated by a non-league side on television. It would be a setback to morale at a crucial stage of our campaign.

I don't think it's going to be easy, but I think we will be able to edge a 2-1 win. Given that we don't have Sky (because of Warwick District Council regulations) it will be an unusual experience to watch the Addicks live on television.

Leamington face moneybags Truro City at home tomorrow and we will be the only Charlton blog covering this match. I will be doing a match preview on Radio Scilly this afternoon between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Wagstaff's warning

Scott Wagtsaff is the only Charlton player to have experience of playing at Northwich Victoria which might be a good reason to start him on Sunday. He gives his thoughts here: Northwich

Our last non-league experience was with Dagenham and Redbridge where we managed to scrape a last minute draw through a deflected shot and then won the replay in extra time. Curbs told me later that 'they gave us a torrid time.'

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Jordan attacks Palace fans

The Orange One has launched an extraordinary attack on Palace fans for failing to turn up to watch the rubbish served up at Selhurst Park, whilst praising Charlton's attendances: Jordan

Joy and sadness

A good result in the FA Youth Cup with a 3-0 win over Gillingham. Someone who was there states, 'A very entertaining game this evening ... one of the goals, by Harry Pell, was at least as good as Kavanagh's against us last Saturday. A screaming, looping beauty from 30 yards out. Damiam Matthew's teams always play attractive passing football and tonight was no exception. As a reward we've got another home game in the next round v. either Woking or Dagenham and Redbridge.'

We are sorry to report the death of one of the senior members of our canine match analysis team, Monty Martin. Although only an occasional reporter, the excitable spaniel always seemed to bring luck to Charlton. In recent years, he has had the canine analyst role at Zamaretto Premiership side Didcot Town, but was to ill to travel to last Saturday's encounter with Leamington. A picture and a short tribute can be found on the web site of our sponsors (scroll down: Monty

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Randolph the Red goes away dear

Pravda reports:

'CHARLTON keeper Darren Randolph will be allowed to leave The Valley in January if he fails to earn a regular first-team place in the next two months. The 22-year-old academy graduate has spent this season on the bench as back-up to number one Rob Elliot, but when Elliot sustained a leg injury last week which could rule him out for over a month, Addicks boss Phil Parkinson swooped to sign Wolves reserve Carl Ikeme on a short-term loan.

And Parkinson has revealed he has talked to Randolph about his future and told him he can leave SE7 in the next transfer window if the Republic of Ireland U21 international does not earn a place in the side.

"I've spoken to Darren and explained the situation to him," said the Charlton manager. "He's frustrated because he wants to be playing first-team football. We've said to Darren that if he's not pushing Rob out of the team by January then we'll look to let him go, possibly on a permanent basis."'

It should be emphasised that is not a strategy to push Randolph out, but to offer him the option to develop his stalled career elsewhere.

Headline courtesy of Rich Pemberton.

Monday, 2 November 2009

A poor sporting weekend

Leamington lose 3-5 at home to a team lower down the table; Charlton go down 3-1 at Carlisle; and then yesterday Coventry Blaze lost 1-2 at home to the Cardiff Devils. It wasn't so much the fact that they lost, but the way in which they lost. It was a lacklustre performance against a Welsh side who were well organised, but lacked flair, leading to a poor quality game.

The moaners are out in force after Charlton's defeat at Carlisle. Some people who went whose judgement I trust thought that we were poor, so there are real grounds for concern. However, as usual at Charlton, the doom and gloom is overdone. Moaners are pointing out that we are 18th in the form table, but these are the same people who were forecasting relegation at the beginning of the season.

Parky has come under criticism for using loan players, some seeing this as a return of the bad old days of Pardew. But Parky brought in loan players because of injuries which were bound to unsettle the side.

Some fans seem particularly upset that he didn't use Randolph. There is always a vein of sentiment at Charlton in favour of players who have come up through the ranks. I haven't seen Randolph enough to form a view of him, but I have seen the three goals and I doubt whether Elliot could have saved them. Indeed, the two from long distance would have tested Deano in his prime.

There is, of course, a real question about why Kavanagh was allowed so much space to let loose his thunderbolts and Racon is a new target for grumbling with the accusation of show boating.

Our biggest problem remains our strike force. Burton is a decent enough player at this level, but he is playing with an injury. He needs to have his operation sooner rather than later, but who do you replace him with? McLeod has nuisance value, but has difficulty in finding the back of the net. I am not sure how far McKenzie is from returning from injury, although he looks like a player who is injury prone.

Of course, some fans say that the solution is 'simples': bring back Chris Dickson from Bristol Rovers. I have never really been convinced by Dickson. I thought it was a big ask to made the jump from his level of the non-league. As for arguments that he has been 'banging them in' at Bristol Rovers, the Pirates seem to have faded recently.

Perhaps the one good thing that will come out of this is a more realistic assessment of our prospects. Leeds have booked one automatic promotion place from the division and there are plenty of good contenders for the others, not least Norwich. MK Dons we shall see about when we play them in a fortnight, although I actually think that this is a match we shall win.

At the beginning of the season, I thought we would be somewhere between mid-table and the fringes of the play offs. 2nd in the actual table (which is still the one that counts) is acceptable for the beginning of November. I think that a play off place is a realistic aspiration.

We do need a proven striker and there is the hope that we could get a young fringe player from a higher level at Christmas. Of course, that would mean a loan, but there is nothing wrong with a loan if it meets a need.

In the meantime, I would make more use of Mooney while we have him, loan player or not.