Thursday, 8 January 2009

Weekend Championship Preview, Game 27

The release of the Report & Accounts for the period up to June 2008 make predictably grim reading. The headline loss of £11.5m and underlying operating loss of £6.2m emphasize the Board's drive to recoup dwindling player values through the Summer fire-sale as well to slash the wage bill in an attempt to stem the bleeding. This was all driven by a 25% drop in revenues due largely to falling attendances and much-reduced TV revenues.

The really bad news is that the downward revenue curve will continue on it's current glidepath, particularly if we go down and there will be a continuing need to cut costs. As always, NYA provides an expert analysis for the lay-man but perhaps those who should be sat down and walked through it line-by-line are the players. 

Come-what-may, we have another match to complete on Saturday and guess what? - It looks like it could be the pivotal game of the season. Nottingham Forest are three places above us and five points better-off and come to the Valley on the back of a morale-boosting win at Manchester City in the F A Cup. It also the first game officially in charge for new manager Billy Davies - he who walked away from the Charlton job 18 months ago. Oh how Richard Murray will be up for this one, but what a sickener if Davies has the last laugh.

Reading v Watford
This derby-of-sorts takes place tomorrow evening, so presumably we can catch it on the box? Watford are still hovering above the drop zone but are 8 points better of than us and things look brighter under new man Brendan Rodgers. He has even managed to re-awaken the interest of Sir Elton although recent boardroom chnages will have done as much to get him interested again in supporting his team. This still looks too hard an ask for Watford and they will need to overcome the equal-best home record in the division.
Prediction; 3-1

Barnsley v Southampton
The Tykes are up to 16th and almost out-of-sight. Another three points here will give them mid-table safety and push Southampton deeper into the mire.
Prediction; 2-0

Blackpool v Birmingham City
Blackpool have followed Barnsley's grind-it-out approach to climbing away from trouble and find themselves just a place behind them as a consequence. Their downfall has been their home form, in stark contrast to last year. Birmingham have been strong away from St Andrews and will be under pressure to win, especially as they will know the gap to Reading before kick-off. Expect them to get the three points.
Prediction; 0-1

Burnley v Swansea City
Burnley's fine League Cup run looks to have finally run out-of-steam following the first leg 4-1 defeat to Spurs. Owen Coyle won't have given up all hope of reversing that but should be free to concentrate on a play-off position. Three more points here should focus the troops.
Prediction; 2-1

Cardiff City v Derby County
Expect a larger than normal Derby following at Cardiff tomorrow and I think it might be enough to get them a previously unlikely looking point.
Prediction; 1-1

Charlton Athletic v Nottingham Forest
Oh dear. No Nicky Bailey tomorrow although Hudson and Gray might be back to offer a more familiar shape and, please God, a 4-4-2 formation after last week's inexcusable mess-up. Much will depend here on which Forest side turn-up. The one that struggles to score and who could only grind out a 0-0 with us in their home game or the one that won 3-0 at Man City last week. The nemisis looks like it might be Robert Bloody Earnshaw - he of the West Brom hat-trick in a similar game a few seasons back. I fear the worst.
Prediction; 1-2 - a historic 17th league game without a win.

Doncaster Rovers v Bristol City
As good an opportunity as Donny will get for another home win. Three points here and they might even get out of the bottom three for the first time since September.
Prediction; 1-0

Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday
Ipswich all the way here for me. They have been decent at home and Wednesday poor away. Both look like mid-table finishers and the home side will probably have the greater motivation.
Prediction; 2-0

Plymouth Argyle v Crystal Palace
Big game for Palace this. If they win it could propel them into the top six although I think they will struggle to finish sixth between here and May although I live in hope for a mini-collapse. Plymouth are unpredictable and a draw might be on the cards with a late goal from either side.
Prediction; 2-2

QPR v Coventry
All that Italian and Portugese flair? Another boring QPR home win. 
Prediction; 2-0

Sheffield United v Norwich City
United can do us a favour here and roast City. Nil points is what we want for them and a good tonking might lower morale ahead of the unwanted cup replay on Tuesday. Let's face it, they looked poor enough at the Valley last week to take a battering from a decent side.
Prediction; 3-0

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Preston NE
Home run for Wolves and this is a game they need to close out. Preston will try to keep things tight but it's hard to see Wolves not taking the lead and holding onto it.
Prediction; 2-0


Eaststander said...

I think you've renamed yourself "Drinking During the Weekend Review".

We beat Burnley not Cardiff in the final.

This picture is always worth seeing:

Dave Peeps said...

Fellow eaststander - Thank you for spotting my deliberate mistake. It's a device I use every now and again to see who's paying attention. Er, what was I thinking of? - Dave.