I was anticipating a crowd of between 10,000 and 11,000 based upon 9,500 season tickets sales, 5-700 vistiing fans and matchday ticket sales of up to only a thousand based upon the relatively high prices of £25/£17 and the lack of changes anticipated at the end of last season. However, a thread on Charlton Life including those close to the ticket office believe the gate will be much closer to 15,000 which would be a significant boost to all involved and probably only bettered by Leeds, Norwich and Southampton in our division who are all at home tomorrow.
In a surprise move yesterday, Nicky Bailey was named as captain which would reinforce the view that the Board do not anticipate him being sold anytime soon. The players shirt numbers also throw up some surprises, with Andy Gray starting at 9 and Jon Fortune's previous number left blank for now - come on Jon, sign that contract and help us in what should be your testimonial season.
I am expecting a decent game of football tomorrow with Charlton attacking from the off. I believe it will be one of those games where the timing of the first goal will be decisive, especially if we get it. Wycombe's success last season was built on a sound defence but that was in League Two and we should expect to score tomorrow in our opening match of the campaign. If we go in at half-time with the lead I think we can win this game comfortably. It would be great to get a clean sheet for the new back four line-up which I fully expect will be Youga, Llera, Dailly and Richardson (Basey can expect to get on after 75 minutes if we are comfortble).
In spite of the 4-4-2 played at Bournemouth last week, I think Parky will go with a a more cautious 4-5-1 and play Jonjo in behind Burton or Gray, although expect both to feature at some point. That leaves a midfield that will largely pick itself, with Bailey, Racon, Sam and Semedo/Spring. We could move to 4-4-2 later in the game if we get a two goal lead or, indeed, if we end up chasing the game.
I'll go with 3-1, with Racon, Bailey and Shelvey all scoring to underline the potency of our engine-room this year.
As we all know, the win is vital to securing the all important good start and I only hope that it doesn't bring too much pressure for the players. I expect the crowd to be supportive although that could turn very quickly with a less than convincing display and don't be surprised if the wags get something going about the lack of a takeover.
Varney, where are you?