Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Charlton Athletic 2 v Rochdale 1

The proverbial cold night in November and a home game against the archetypal lower league strugglers, Rochdale. The official gate was 8,801 (inc 146 visitors), although many season ticket holders took the opportunity to swerve this one.

Whatever, Charlton eventually rose to the occasion after a woeful first-half when Dale took the lead through debutant, youth product Matty Gillam, a goal he will probably remember longer than anyone else present. The visitors could have gone two-up before half-time when they struck the inside of the post but we survived into the second period when an early finish from Forster-Caskey from a Da Silva cross levelled matters and put Charlton in the ascendency. 

Forster-Caskey has been weighing in this season and he duly notched the winner which Amos preserved with two good saves before the whistle. Ahmed Kashi did also see an effort cannon off the post.

The win lift us to fourth and with a game or two in hand over those above us, we sit pretty. Ben Reeves limped off last night and with Tariq Fosu out for five weeks, the squad is now being challenged. Given our proximity to Christmas, the fixtures before New Year and our points position, we will finally enter a January transfer window in a position that Duchatelet promised us would merit a gamble in the market to strengthen the side for a real promotion push. 

It will be very interesting to see if the owner is finally as good as his word if he is still calling the shots come New Year. What does look clear, is that we will cash in some chips on Konsa irrespective and my fear is that money might talk over Ricky Holmes. Robinson has spoken about a possible loan-back of Konsa in the event of a sale, although I have to say I can't ever remember us managing to do that. Fair to say that centre-half is the one position we aren't short of options, although Konsa has proven very solid in a number of other roles. Money eventually talks and I wonder whether Chris Wilder will pay over the odds to get Holmes and boost Sheffield United's surge to the Premier League (oh the irony)? That chance might also prove compelling for an older footballer who deserves his crack at the big time.

In summary then, if Duchatelet is still carrying the can come January, we are going to see where is mouth is, to use a local expression. In addition to at least one proven striker, he may have to re-use some of whatever he recoups on a very decent attacking midfielder and good-fit defender in order to honestly say he has supported a second-half promotion push.

In terms of the takeover, the continuing delay in any news breaking officially tells us two things; first that there must be something going on for the club not to have denied it or at least to say that speculation isn't helpful, secondly, that the process is beginning to take longer than might have been expected which begins to get worrying. Due Diligence was rumoured to have completed a number of weeks ago with the majority of the issues on the list having been dealt with. This week the rumours of those purporting to be getting whispers, is that one party may have pulled out and the other is equally exasperated over the stubbornness of the owner and his desire to keep an interest. 

I am not panicking just yet but if we get into December with no news then my hopes will begin to fade quickly and if takeover fails publicly, supporters are likely to vent frustrations again. Remaining hopes this season would be pinned on promotion and once more Duchatelet's actions on that front would be put under heavy scrutiny. 

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