Thursday, 22 August 2013

Got to win your home games

It's an old cliche but it's what we have to do on Saturday. Home form cost us a play-off or better finish last season. Considering how relatively good we were away from home it can readily be argued that our home form was relegation quality, certainly up until well into the New Year. 

Home form is critical to the health of a club. It drives gates and associated revenues and is largely how the majority perceive their club. Back in the 70's when I started going regularly, Charlton were a joy to watch at the Valley. Our ordinary squad of players were completely at home on the Valley turf. They got at visiting sides and invariably made life very difficult for them. We had a handful of quality players who positively shone but the whole side upped their game in front of the home fans. Charlton may have been hugely unfashionable ("sleeping giant") but we knew they were a fine club who played for us. We had a track record of scoring plenty of goals at home a a result. 

Away from home, things were very different. We were hopeless. More often than not it was damage limitations and you could rely upon one spanking (6 or 7) a season at least. Players who excelled in front of their home fans went into their shells away and did nothing.

So, to Saturday then. We mustn't under-estimate Doncaster but they are a side we should be capable of beating at home. They have just come up. They are largely journeymen players, like us. However, we have a valuable seasons learning ahead of them and we are at home. They are still adjusting to the Championship and whilst they will likely play with less pressure than us, we should be looking to secure three points and avoid an early season relegation scrap.

I believe Ben Hamer may be struggling to start due to a finger injury and I expect to see a starting change in central defence given the nature of the goals conceded at Bournemouth and Barnsley. Beyond Harriott on the left, midfield is anyones guess. It's remains the Achilles' Heel and I wouldn't be surprised if Chris Powell changes formation to ensure we hold our own. Personally I want to see two up top and Charlton be far more ambitious but we need assured and energetic performances from midfield and we haven't managed to get a combination to do that so far. 

Yann Kermorgant has been taking some stick for lacklustre and un-Yann like performances of late. The sharper eyed are saying he is simply carrying too much weight. Players weight is monitored, so I would be disappointed if that's genuinely the case. If he is carrying too much beef and playing poorly he should be dropped. Simon Church has started well and is quoted today saying how happy he is with the move. Having netted three times already, he must start.

The final piece for me is that Chris must get the players to press for the first goal during the first-half. The pattern to our opening forty-fives is far too often an attempt to keep things even. We are too defensive and negative. If we get in at 0-0 we often start the second-half a different side, but why do we do this? Effectively reducing the match to 45 minutes at home actually suits visiting teams who often come with that game plan anyway.

Unfortunately, it would appear that Chris Powell hasn't learnt from last season and I can see us settling for a goaless first-half again. If that's the case then I will take Rovers to get something from the game and cement our poor start.  


Tony said...

If we sit back they will do to us what they done to Wigan.
Doncaster play good football, and if we allow them to play we will get punished.
Although you would like to see two up front, I think he (Powell) may choose to crowd the midfield in order to stifle their play. Whether this changes throughout the game is anyone's guess.
I hope I am proven wrong.
P.S. How did the gender reassignment surgery go?

Dave said...

Fine thanks Tone. Recovering in Blackheath as I type. It's only when you see your penis detached from your body that you realise just how big it is. X Davina.