Thursday 6 August 2015

Bring it on

I have had a hectic Summer one way or another but finally I get the chance to breathe and kick-off is upon us. Our plum home league match of the season is the opener when how-the-mighty-have-fallen-so-predictably are the visitors. I have been tough on QPR in the past and deservedly so, although my posts on them have always brought reliably predictable abuse from servers in West London, so any R's fans reading this may take comfort in the fact that already I see them as our most attractive home opposition.

They have sold their allocation, which is great and reasonably impressive given their form last season, especially on the road. Taking 3100 across London on the opening day isn't exactly a migration of wildebeest but they have taken their full allocation and that's a decent turnout given their home gates.

I am expecting a decent gate of maybe 17-18,000. I attempted to get my match tickets this afternoon but silly me forgot that the Ticket Office has half-day on Thursdays, even immediately prior to the opening fixture at home. Not sure the hard-pressed Charlton office staff Union is that powerful and I am surprised that they weren't forced to change shifts to support a full working week, especially when season ticket production and postage appears to have been left perilously close. Still, not to worry, they are opening until 8pm tomorrow, so if you had a wasted journey today - there was a steady stream of bewildered's clutching application forms - you can always make a return journey tomorrow - one of the reasons I live around the corner from the ground.

Anyway, I digress. I wanted to ramble on about those FFP Fiddlers from West London. I also wanted to coat them off for continuing to mock the Football League and everyone else but having poured another mountain of cash down the drain, but I am pleasantly surprised to find that they have been very conservative this close season and may appear to have learnt a lesson. Despite the enormous waste of money on players in recent years, they have been sober when negotiating contract terms because all the mercenaries have left the building and they now have a reasonably lower-league squad assembled at modest cost. How-the-mighty-have-fallen indeed. That's not to say that Leroy Fer and Charlie Austin might not undo us on Saturday but you have to question whether they will be risked with big money moves in the offing.

So, this has given rise to over-optimistic forecasting amongst the Addcited. All-of-a-sudden we are all now looking at 2-1, 3-1 opening day victories. Rangers are being dismissed out-of-hand and I think it somewhat dangerous. Six weeks ago our squad was paper thin and we had left it too late. The arrival of a number of players largely unknown to us and mostly anticipated low country imports has changed the mood and we are now promotion challengers. The Bookies think differently but many Addicks they are out-of-date. I am not so sure. Our pre-season was scrappy and first-team game time has been limited. We may yet fly but I am hedging my bets on anything more than a draw on Saturday.

For the record, I think we have possible weaknesses in attack and in central defence. Makienok is unproven and if he is another lanky target man with a modest strike rate, we may struggle if Vetokele isn't fully recovered from injury as appears the case. Tony Watt could be carrying a burden. In central defence we look an experienced pro short. Bikey doesn't look like playing for us again and outside of Bauer and Sarr we will be relying upon Diarra or an inexperienced youngster. Much may depend on us remaining free of any long-term injuries.

Rhoys Wiggins was allowed to move to Sheffield Wednesday this week. Not sure that's a good move for us although Morgan Fox would be my first-choice left-back. Wiggins has been a good servant to the club and hasn't had the plaudits he really deserves. He was outstanding in our promotion year and he, injury aside, has looked very comfortable at Championship when fully fit and firing on all cylinders. In my opinion, he could have held his own in the Premier League when at the top of his game (not against Bournemouth, obviously).

I hear that Chris Solly took a knock at Bolton and could be missing from the starting eleven. That could be unsettling if it proves to be true. Irrespective,  I will be out and about on Saturday when I am hoping to meet all those familiar faces again and share our common plight. Come on you Reeeeds!

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