Date:Friday February 15 2008
Historically, Charlton Athletic suffer a inaugural end of season slump which sees them collapse from potentially challenging for higher position before fading into obscurity. That, was under Alan Curbishly, the new Alan in charge, Pardew, has other ideas if his side are to maintain a promotion push.
After a 1-1 draw with Pardew`s side a couple of weeks back, Watford are once again tanked up on confidence, so another away game, the second on the bounce, will prove instrumental in the Hornets push for promotion.
With much of the squad departing over the Summer, most notably Darren Bent, Pardew has had to re-build his squad with free transfers and the odd cash signing. One of Pardew`s first signings was experienced 'keeper Nicky Weaver. After a string of injuries the 28 year-old had finally forced himself back into the Manchester City team having won promotion as number one a few years before. However, despite several inspired performance which kept out Andreas Isaksson, Weaver was off-loaded on a free. This season has seen the former Stag make the jersey his own and a superb clean sheet at Sheffield Wednesday showed why he is so highly-rated.
Every good 'keeper needs a good defence in front of him and the Addicks have just that. Majid Bougherra is an old hand in this division having attempted to keep Crewe up on-loan before returning to Sheffield Wednesday permanently. It was at Hillborough he really caught the attention and a seven-figure transfer to The Valley followed. The Algerian international will be assured of dogs abuse however, having trodden on an already crippled Calum Davenport who was grounded having fractured his neck.
Also at the back is the wandering nomad of English football. Having spent five years at Colchester United and racking up 150 appearances. An England youth cap, Halford moved to Reading for six months but could not dislodge Graeme Murty. Consequently he upped sticks and moved North to join the Sunderland revolution. That lasted half a season before he was off-loaded on-loan to Charlton where he will look to get back to some sort of form. A pacey right-back, Halford also boasts a fifty yard throw in. Bromby has competition…
Another loan-signing is Lee Cook who joined the Addicks on deadline day. Cook is remembered by Watford fans as much for his money-grabbing nature which lead to him joining Q.P.R as his pacey darts down the left flank. Something of a Pantomime Villain to Hornets fans, the Hammersmith born winger has huge talent, but never fulfilled it at Fulham thanks to a knee injury. Here`s to even less success at Charlton.
With someone like Lee Cook in the side, it is crucial to have goalscorers up top and Chris Iwelumno is just that. Having joined on a free from Colchester the giant Scottish frontman has been a frequent scorer adding nine to the Addicks total. The arrival of Andy Gray will take some weight of his 6`3" frame and the emergence of Chris Dickson.
Gray has a proven record at this level and signed from just over a million from Burnley where he had scored 25 in 60 in just over two years. At Sheffield United he also tasted success with 25 in 58. Also chipping in is Luke Varney who joined for around 2million in the Summer. Varney is the latest export from the Crewe Alexandra production line, the Cheshire club was the recipients of 27 strikes in 95 games, a total managed in just four years. Lightenting fast and directness personified, Varney has wasted little time in proving himself, seven goals in 27, a ratio of one every four. Not bad when you consider he`s only made 16 starts.
Charlton`s home form has been patchy to say the least; maybe it`s Watford`s turn to profit from a side who have lost five at home and are evidently as uncomfortable in their own yard as the Hornets…
Weaver; Halford, McCarthy, Bougherra, Youga; Sam, Ambrose, Holland (c), Cook; Iwelumno and Gray.
Lee (c); Mariappa, Bromby, Shittu, Sadler; Smith, O`Toole, Eustace, McAnuff; Henderson and Ellington.
Date:Friday February 15 2008
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