Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Someone new and someone new-ish

Shaun Wright-Phillips’ immediate future is still to be resolved, but his younger brother, Bradley, knows where he will be playing after penning an 18-month deal with the Addicks.

The 25-year-old has joined from cash-strapped Plymouth for an undisclosed fee and brings with him an excellent goal-scoring record – this season at least – having netted 13 times for the Pilgrims since September.

A slight concern is that the former Manchester City trainee is also carrying a knee strain – an ailment he insists is not too serious, but one that stymied a transfer to play-off chasing Championship outfit Reading earlier this month.

Further investigation reveals the Lewisham-born frontman has regularly suffered with a gammy patella since he arrived in Devon in 2009, so while Wright-Phillips’ merits are obvious, there is an element of risk to Chris Powell’s first signing as Charlton chief. I would, however, argue that it is a calculated gamble.

The Addicks have accrued someone with that sought-after knack of rippling the net and, because of Plymouth’s unfortunate financial plight, almost certainly for a knock-down price. The fact that Wright-Phillips is from the capital should also help him settle in quicker.

And the one-and-a-half-year deal ensures that should the ex-Southampton man’s knee flare up, or bust completely, he won’t become a financial burden, like the way Owen Hargreaves is rapidly becoming for Manchester United.

That’s quite a negative view, though, so let’s hope Wright-Phillips stays fighting fit and forges a potent partnership with one of Joe Anyinsah, Nathan Ecclestone and Paul Benson. I could even see the diminutive striker working well with the much-maligned Pawel Abbott – but I suspect the Polish Yorkshireman will have moved on from The Valley by the end of the month.

Those eagle-eyed readers amongst you will have noticed that I plan to talk about “someone new-ish” in this post as well, and that man is Alan McCormack.

The tough-looking Irishman has made an inauspicious start to his Charlton career due to a mixture of injury, a couple of sub-par performances and the presence of Therry Racon. But since caretaker boss Keith Peacock instilled the ex-Preston and Southend man on the right side of midfield, he has been quite impressive.

McCormack typified the spirit the Addicks showed at White Hart Lane and, by most accounts, was solid at Sheffield Wednesday as well. And against Plymouth, I thought the 27-year-old was superb.

He constructed a good partnership with former Shrimpers colleague Simon Francis down the flank, while his method of cutting inside and dragging Argyle’s left-back out of position allowed Francis plenty of space to bomb into. If the latter's delivery becomes more precise, that could bode well.

A central midfielder proving effective out wide. Have we found the new Nicky Bailey?

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