The much rumoured snow is looking like it will hold-off at least until well after Saturday's second round F A Cup clash with the Hatters. It's going to be cold but we should get the game out of the way. I am looking forward to a break from League action and this should be a game we can all enjoy - the players too. It gives us a sniff of a big third round draw and the potential to see the Valley full to the rafters once again. The revenue could also be a major bonus in keeping the Administrator from the door or even allowing Phil Parkinson the unlikely opportunity to bring on one or two new faces in January.
First of all, we have to avoid another embarrassing giant-killing. In recent seasons we have become accustomed to being sent packing from cup competitions in the early rounds by League Two sides and last year suffered the ignominy of our first ever humbling (I think) by non-league opposition at Northwich Victoria.
Luton Town may well be Up-for-the-Cup but we have to believe our professional status should be enough to see us through. It will take a spirited Charlton display and we might benefit from some solidarity amongst what is likely to be a make-shift side. Jose Semedo won't recover from his hamstring injury in time and Gary Doherty limped off on Tuesday with a dead-leg. Lee Martin is unable to play in cup competitions and loanee Marcel Seip is cup-tied. With Matt Fry facing a points suspension too and Christian Dailly sitting this one out, the side will largely pick itself and there may be an opportunity for one or two young players to join the squad.
Ordinarily, it could be a day to give Rob Elliot a rest but I suspect we'll go for familiarity in goal in view of the other forced changes. Johnnie Jackson can expect to start in his old position as cover for Fry. Miguel Llera will get a start with Jon Fortune and Simon Francis should take right-back.
McCormack and Racon should run midfield and I expect Wagstaff and Reid to be given key roles in terms of running at Luton to give them plenty to think about in terms of cover when they go forward. This a game made for Akpo Sodje and Paul Benson although Joe Anyinsah may figure if fit enough to play.
The best reason for a rousing cup victory may be to extend our unbeaten run to ten games and allow us to take it to Lancashire next week. Who would have ever envisaged a time when a league fixture at Rochdale is more important than an F A Cup tie against Luton Town?