Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Should they stay or should they go now?

No, I'm not talking about the managerial team. With Tom Soares packed back to the Stoke stiffs this week there is mounting speculation about the playing staff clearout in the Summer. Mark Kinsella has said as much to the Newsshopper this week as 14 contracts come up for renewal. Having been relegated two years ago we sold on those players for whom we could realise fees and have gradually culled all the PL wage-earners. The task now will be to reduce the overall size of the squad to reign in the outgoings and to ensure enough new blood and characters for a fresh start.

Here's my view on who we are likely to keep and who is likely to go as well as some personal observations on both;

Goalkeepers

It's never easy to judge goalkeepers who have to play behind a team that goes down.

- Rob Elliott - He's done ok for me and whilst nowhere near the standard or Kiely or Carson, he is still very young in goalie terms and may yet mature into the finished article. He will be on affordable wages and I can see him playing all next year.

- Darren Randolph - Those who have seen him more than I have speak strongly in his favour. I'm coloured by the bloopers on his Valley debut. Like Elliott he won't be on big money, is young and should be retained.

- Nicky Weaver - He had seen his best days when we signed him and he'll be lukcy to find another Championship club unless he takes a wage cut in the Summer. He's out of contract and the chances of a renewal at the Valley are zero.

Left-Backs

- Kelly Youga - Looked a real find when we signed him and was good to watch although he tends to mess around on the ball and invite trouble. He's had a poor season and his distribution has become a problem. He's always keener to hold a player off the ball than get ahead and play it - never a good sign. If Parkinson stays, I think Youga will be alright, although I believe Basey is a better option, especially for League One.

- Grant Basey - I think he gets a hard deal from Addicks fans. He's quick, direct and likes to get forward. He can get caught out of position but they all can and he is still young. A must for next season.

Right Backs

- Yassin Moutaouakil - Disliked by Parkinson and his attitude at Bristol City when he came on and couldn't be bothered to run for the ball has raised big question-marks. However, he looked top class when he arrived. He has pace and awareness and also links up well down the wing. His problem so far has been that his mistakes have been costly. If Parky stays I think we might look to get shot but I would keep him and play him next year.

- Danny Butterfield - Can't see what he's added above and beyond Moutaoukil. Either way he's not afforable in League One.

Centre-Halves

- Mark Hudson - Not his most enjoyable season I am sure but he has the game to make us hard to beat in League One. He is on decent Championship money and might be a target for those we leave behind. I'd like to see him play all next season but he could be flogged for a cheaper recruit.

- Darren Ward - He's done ok but would probably want too much money to make it a permanent move and to play in League One. Can't see him being here in June.

- Jonathan Fortune - Forch has been unlucky with injury this season but he I think he could form a decent League One pairing with Hudson. He will be on good money and has been a target for other Championship sides previously. I think he's due a testimonial and I can see him staying unless we get offered a price for him (£500,000?).

Central Midfield

- Nicky Bailey - Has been our most influential player and knows League One. He will be a target for Championship clubs and money talks. If we can hang on to him we should because I don't think we'll be able to replace him.

- Matt Holland - A stalwart who has benefitted from Charlton dropping out of the PL. It's extended his career at the Valley and he will be hoping he is retained as one of the experienced pros. He will be on good money and the Board might see him as being too expensive for League One and we're not short of options in the middle. Please don't think of converting him to a centre-half full-time.

- Matt Spring - Has played less and less in every game to the point of not featuring at all last week. He's under contract so will probably start next season although he'd not be my first pick.
-Therry Racon - One highlight of this season and a player who has spent some time on loan in League One. With youth on his side, this could be a big season for him and he must be a starter for me, although he needs a grafter tight alongside him to win the midfield.
- Jonjo Shelvey - Surely he'll start next season having signed a deal last month? Promises to be a big player for us if we can find the right role for him. I'm not convinced at the moment with holding midfield or anything out wide. Maybe in the hole but that would mean playing five in midfield again. Perhaps that's what we need to do next year if we can't improve our striking options because we haven't got two worth playing together at the moment up front.

- Zheng Zhi - No chance of him facing League One opposition. Wages too high and he'll have ambitions of the PL or Championship at least. He's out of contract so there'll be no fee either.

- Jose Semedo - It will be good to have a fully fit Jose back in the side. If we keep him, he would be amongst my preferred pairings with Bailey and Racon. He provides the added Curbs factor of being useful elsewhere across the pitch if necessary.

- Rashi Yussuff - "Toks" is twenty this year and has failed to break into the first team. With a long list of midfielders ahead of him, even allowing for some departures, it's hard to see him getting a chance and he could go as we trim the squad.

- Scott Wagstaff - Similar problem to Yussuff. He has at least broken in to the first team but had a nightmare against Yeovil in the League Cup and has not been seen since. Another squad victim?

- Josh Wright - Ditto Yussuff and Wagstaff. He did get on against Burnley this year but faces a big task next year to break in against League One opposition.

Left Wing

- Not a strong position for us, hence all the loanees who have been tried. I prefer Bailey in the middle but he might be best-fit here to accommodate Semedo and Racon. Not sure about Yussuff, Wagstaff or Wright's left-wing capabilities (no left footers?) but that could be an option. Looks like a priority if we are bringing new faces in.

Right Wing

- Lloyd Sam - Has the game to be a real threat in League One. Really needs to get the confidence to score goals and 09-10 could be his big chance. I think he'll start next year.

- Darren Ambrose - Not sure he's got a proper position. One of the biggest disappointments I've come across. Missed his chance at Ipswich and he'll regret that. He'll take a huge pay cut and still be playing for someone else next year if he's lucky.

Strikers

- Tresor Kandol - Good game against Watford but I've seen precious little to hang my goal-scoring hopes on. He is better in the air than anyone else we've got upfront but that's no reason for hanging on to him. League One might be his level but Leeds have been keen to get shot and I can see why. I would let him go back.

- Deon Burton - Tries hard and looks busy but he had never been a goal-scorer throughout his career and it's hurt us this season. He's under contract and we're stuck with him.

- Izale McLeod - Hasn't exactly ripped it up on loan at Millwall in League One. He needs to re-find what he had at MK Dons. I can't even see him managing a goal against us in the future. If he starts next season with Burton up front you can forget any ideas of challenging.

- Andy Gray - Nightmare season for the Scot both on and off the field. He might return ready and willing in August but if anyone offers us half what we paid, he'll be gone. He'll score more goals than Burton and McLeod put together but I won't lose any sleep if he moves on.

- Chris Dickson - Unfulfilled potential. Apparently not very good at playing to orders. Cheap and contracted, so he looks like it's make or break for him next season. Needs a run of starts and a run of goals. A possible target for a cheeky Gillingham or equivalent, although we're hardly likely to be in the market for a quality striking replacement so I suspect the Board will hang on if that happened.

- Stuart Fleetwood - We really need to make our minds up with this bloke. Ample evidence to suggest he'll be another Charlie McDonald or Scott McGleish. Perhaps he's one for League Two.

- Svetoslav Todorov - Something's not right with Todorov. We failed to play him week after week when he returned from injury when everyone else was mis-firing up front. He'll be on good wages and he's had a lot of money from Charlton for little return since signing. Cut our losses.

So, I think we need cover at right-back and possibly centre-half, as well as a left-sided midfielder and a goalscorer or two who are genuine improvements on what we've currently got.

The decision about the management team has to be taken first.....

6 comments:

South Croydon Addick said...

Personally, I'd keep Holland - his attitude is good, he will provide solid cover for central midfield (with Spring) and probably has the makings of a decent manager in time. He might even be persuaded to take a cut in his wages. I can't see Semedo having too much of a future at Charlton, and I suspect that one of Bailey, Shelvey or Racon will have to move on if they are going to get regular first-team football. Bailey is wasted out on the wing, and could be the one to go if he feels he's not being used to his strengths. I'd want him in central midfield with Shelvey, and play Basey out on the wing. Basey is useful on the dead ball, too, and having him in the team would free up Shelvey to take up more attacking positions at corners and free-kicks. Whatever way you look at it, we will need a 20-a-season striker if we stand any chance of coming back up - and we don't have one at the moment.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Was trying the same thing, but you even nicked the title I was going to use. Fair assessment; there's so many players we don't know might be sold/disposed of that all we can do is hope that some of the better options are retained.

Anonymous said...

Basey may be solid and an accurate crosser of the ball but quick he is not.
Andrew

Dave said...

BA - great minds and all that! You've got to love the Clash! Dave.

Anonymous said...

We have no chance of getting a 20 goals a season player unless we spend money.That means selling some of our midfield.We are not in the strongest position and the vulchers will be circling.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone knows what has happened to Danny Uchechi - since playing for the Nigerian U21s and doing very well by all reports he just appears to have disappeared.

Surely some of the youngsters are ready to step up from the reserves - Mambo, Solly, Clark? Surely we can use League 1 to accelerate the youngsters?