Friday, January 01, 2010

A look ahead to.....Walsall

Happy New Year Addickted, and welcome to a brand spanking new decade. Yeah, I don't feel any different either. Parky and his merry men will begin the 2010s - or whatever crap moniker society comes up with to call the next ten years - with a trip to the West Midlands. How exciting.

Our destination is the Banks's Stadium, but Walsall's home ground will always be the Bescot to me. I just don't like the s-apostrophe-s formation in Banks's, it looks peculiar, like a semantic equivalent of Peter Beardsley.

Anyway, when we arrive at the Saddlers' (see what I've done there, added an apostrophe and bypassed the second s) hideously-named abode, we could do with a win. I will always maintain that drawing most away games is an acceptable result, but the home stalemates with Millwall and Swindon mean that a travelling triumph is needed to level things out and keep us clear of the also-in-league-action Norwich.

Opposing manager Chris Hutchings has rebuilt his reputation with the Saddlers after disastrous stints at Bradford and Wigan, when on both occasions he took over from Paul Jewell. The 52-year-old has guided his men to a solid mid-table position, but their progress has stalled following the postponement of their festive fixtures and their three-game winless run before that.

The day we start fretting about who plays for Walsall is the day we can kiss goodbye to our promotion hopes but the Saddlers’ fizzy front two of Darren Byfield and Troy Deeney should give us more to deal with than the meek strikers we encountered at Brentford. For that reason, it would be soothing to see the illness-stricken Christian Dailly back in defence, with the Millwall-hating Jose Semedo returning to his more familiar midfield-destroyer role.

If the ban-free Burton shakes off a dead leg (is it that simple?), I hope he reappears in place of Akpo Sodje and not Chris Dickson, who looks like he is ready to forge a successful Addicks career, while I would also like to see Leon McKenzie start on the left in place of Scott Wagstaff. Parky is a cautious coach though, so I say that more in hope than expectation. A Charlton win, however, I say in both.

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