Thursday, 23 July 2009

First League opposition for Addicks

Phil Parkinson takes his squad to Underhill on Saturday when they will face the challenge of League Two opponents Barnet. The Bees finished 12th last year but that belies a poor start and a strong finish after Ian Hendon was appointed manager on Boxing Day. It's a step up from the warm-up games we have played so far and I would expect us to be playing a close-to-strongest side with only two or three substitutes being used. If we can get something from the game it will set us up for Tuesday's home encounter with Roy Keane's Ipswich Town.

Nicky Bailey could be a notable absence if negotiations on a possible transfer are as advanced as the press are suggesting. Reading and Derby are said to be very keen although Middlesbrough are supposedly interested and watching events. Either way we should be looking at a fee of £1.5m or more. Whether Bailey goes or not may prove a pointer to the state of the takeover negotiations. If the buy-out has stalled on the numbers, you have to think that a deal of sorts was ironed out and that the futures of key saleable assets like Shelvey and Bailey was understood as part of that deal. Assuming that's the case, a sale might suggest a bigger gap between the parties and a further complication over the value of the club as a result of the loss of an asset. On the other hand, if the club needs the sale irrespective of the owners, then I am sure the takeover consortium would prefer it to be done on Murray/Chapple's watch so that their hands are clean.

Phil Parkinson's widley reported comments on needing five players before the season starts was intriguing. Usually a statement like that is made on the understanding that the Board have agreed the position and that targets and funding have been lined-up. It's hard to see that we are in a position to do that, especially if you believe Parky was talking about five better players than some of those we have (although I accept that's not hard to identify five weak links). Instead, I wonder whether he's decided to speak his mind on the strength of the squad in the absence of a decision on his future and to put a bit of pressure on the Board. If he has, then I for one couldn't blame him. I believe he should have gone at Christmas but he's been royally messed around since the end of the season and deserves to have his position sorted out one way or another within the next week.

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