Just how "difficult it is to play against ten men", (copyright P Parkinson), was played out again today, as Charlton let another two points go begging at Colchester. It got me thinking about what needs to happen during the transfer window, with Fortune now out of contract, and Fry out after the Swindon game.
My own feeling is that Fry will stay with us until the end of the season. West Ham are unlikely to see him as made of sufficient amounts of the right stuff to meaningfully assist them in their quest for Premier League preservation. There is also the small matter of having too many players on their books, so I expect to see him stay with us. It is just possible however that Basey may return, as his contract with Barnet also ends this month, and I believe he would be a somwhat cheaper option than Fry as well. Poor old Youga has long since gone as far as I am concerned, and I don't expect to see him in Charlton colours ever again.
Fortune is another matter, as although he is capable at this level, he doesn't have sufficient wherewithal to dislodge even Doherty from the team. In my perfect plan, I would want to see him released, and replaced. I don't believe Seip is the answer, otherwise we would have seen him on the pitch by now, and Llera is definitely not the answer. Mambo is too inexperienced, although I would be delighted to be proved wrong, so for me a central defender who is a natural first choice starter would be one to get during the transfer window.
Francis is not the answer at right back, and along with McCormack has to go down as a dubious transfer by Parkinson. Quite what Gareth Bale will do to our former Southend man next weekend is all too easily imagined, but with a contract extending until summer 2012, we are almost certainly not going to see the back of him any time soon. Whilst young Jenkinson did well in the paint pot trophy, Solly is the one to apply the real competition for the shirt, and I hope he will be back soon to provide it. If that is not going to be the case, then a new right back is required.
I have little concern with the wide positions in midfield, and I don't believe there is necessarily a need for another striker either, but what is urgently required, is what has been missing all season, namely a genuinely creative central midfielder. The type of player with the guile to unlock a team with ten men; the type of player to play the ball into Benson early, which is what he thrives on; the type of player to split a defence with an incisive pass for Anyinsah to run on to. I think you get my drift. Racon should be that player, but isn't, and Semedo is too one dimensional, and is really only useful as a holding defensive option.
So, in summary, I believe we need a creative midfielder, a first choice centre back, and possibly a first choice right back as well. I wouldn't turn down a striker, but I don't believe it should be a priority.