Thursday, 11 July 2019

All change for Welling v Charlton curtain raiser

Saturday sees the traditional Welling United v Charlton Athletic friendly that for many signals the start of the more competitive pre-season friendlies. After a week in the heat of Malaga and only a half against the petulant Medan Gas Board or whatever they were called, Lee Bowyer will be glad to know the Wings won't cry-off if a decision goes against them.

Every year there are new players to see for the first time and this time is no different although, maybe for the first time, the Wings will boast pretty much a completely new squad after a wholesale clearout in the last two months. By my calculations we may see as many Academy debutants as new signings playing for the Addicks. Macauley Bonne, Chuks Aneke and Tom Lockyer should all feature but the squad is currently so much smaller now that we will be dependent upon youth to fill the bench. Bowyer must still be looking for at least another three new faces.

Meanwhile, owner Mark Goldberg dispensed with manager Steve King after twelve months and is going to have another go at managing the side himself. His last attempt wasn't a glorious affair and I suspect he will fall a good bit short of Steve King's efforts last season. 

I am far less familiar with how things work in the non-league but following the Wings last year, it was a bit depressing to see so many changes of personnel during the season. No sooner had you taken to a player than you could see a farewell Tweet as he had moved on another incomer was announced. To be fair, it didn't seem to have an obviously negative effect on Welling's fortunes but who knows what a more consistent starting eleven might have delivered? There is a real habit of bringing back old boys and a classic example of this at PVR last year was goal-scorer Adam Coombes. 'Coombesy' has come and gone previously but big-spending Billericay bought him at the start of last season, only to loan him back to Welling after a month or two and then take him back after that. Coombes is back in Welling red once more this season and I really hope he is there for the duration because his goals could be a big factor for the Wings.

Whatever the strength of the new Welling side, it was disappointing to see pretty much the whole squad culled following the play-off game at Woking. Player of the season, Thierry Audel, was let go along with pretty much everyone else except goalkeeper Dan Wilks and owner's son Bradley Goldberg. That included the talented Brendan Kiernan, mercurial Nassim L'Ghoul as well as target man Danny Mills. Perhaps Goldberg will now try and build something but I reserve judgement. 

The Wings have had a 1-1 draw away at Margate and a 3-1 reverse at National League side Bromley in the last week and will be hoping to keep things close against their professional neighbours. Given existing shortcomings in Bowyer's squad, this could be a closer affair than usual. 

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