Tuesday 9 October 2018

Quarterly report

With 12 games gone I am relieved to see the Addicks up in 9th position. My pre-season nerves were jangling at the prospect of Duchatelet not giving Bowyer the job on a permanent basis (if only nine months) and being told he could look for yet another manager.

Thankfully Duchatelet saw sense over that, although it probably was the least cost, easiest way forward. In terms of our prospects for the season, that only left concerns about the relative thinness of the squad and the lack of quality outside our first eleven. Inspired by goals from Lyle Taylor (7) and Karlan Grant (5), Bowyer's charges have made a fist of it so far winning five, drawing three and losing four. 

Our last three results have seen us grab a last gasp point at Luton and then fall to a heavy defat at Scunthorpe and an unfortunate reversal at the Valley against Coventry. The loss of 8 points from the last 9 has also seen us slide six places down the table and we will lose further ground this weekend when those around us are in action and we sit it out due to players on international duty. The plus side of that is that it will give us an extra week to improve injuries - the sword of Damocles that hangs over thin squads. 

Patrick Bauer's absence has coincided with the recent loss of defensive sure-footedness and Lewis Page's latest injury has seen Bowyer forced to play players out-of-position and wrong-footed. Bowyer will fight on and make the most of whatever hand he is dealt but the run-in to Christmas looks challenging, especially away from home where we face high-flying Portsmouth, Walsall and Barnsley in addition to easier looking games at Rochdale, Burton and-erm Coventry. We also have Barnsley to come at the Valley next and Doncaster two down the line but should expect to get points from Oxford United (Karl Robinson ha-ha-ha), Bristol Rovers and then Wimbledon and Gillingham, although the latter two have a habit of getting results against us the form-book suggests otherwise.

Injuries will continue to be key but I think we will do well to arrive at the January window better than 9th. That would probably be the signal for Duchatelet to feel confident enough to look to cash in on any players attracting the eye and offering a profit to help him offset the ongoing losses. If Bowyer is allowed any backfill, history tells us it will be a body-shopping exercise to help him continue to put a side out and that will not address the quality gap left by the departing player(s). God, it's so depressing supporting Charlton under Duchatelet.

Meanwhile, over Shooters Hill, Welling United are beginning to excel in National Vanarama South. After two early season defeats, the new-look Wings side has found some form and now gone nine unbeaten, including their latest F A Cup win away at Hereford United on Saturday. Inspired by Thierry Audel at the back and Dan Wilks in goal, the Wings have stopped shipping goals. Their midfield, lead by ex-Arsenal youngster Jack Jebb and the talented Brendan Kiernan are continuing to take games to the opposition and the goals are coming. The return of talisman Adam Coombes is a big boost and, despite a tough 4th qualifying round draw away at Woking, I fancy the Wings to make the First Round proper.

Whatever happens, it's been a bright start and it promises to be an exciting and rewarding league season for a change. Mark Goldberg deserves credit for the work he has continued to do in developing the club and particularly the bold decisions he has made over management and playing personnel. There has been a lot of change over the last two seasons but it bodes well. Welling are playing some excellent football and look a cut above most sides in their division.

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