About Me

Old Coulsdon, United Kingdom
An acquired refugee from the days of exile at Selhurst Park, my first game being a dreary 1-1 draw with Millwall. I followed the team back to The Valley, and have now been with them for over twenty years. You will find me in the Rose of Denmark or in the Lower West. Follow me on Twitter @DeepestDarkest1

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Summer Fun

So, that's it then? The merry go round of league football stops for three months, but as we all know, Chris Powell will be busy formulating his squad for the second division. I enjoy all the rumours and excitement when a new player comes in, (or doesn't), during the summer, and whilst I do not expect anything like the level of activity that we saw last summer, I do believe we will see a certain amount, as the team that Chris built does need strengthening if we are to assume our rightful mid table place in the second tier. So, let's indulge in a bit of fantasy squad tweaking shall we?, and look back in August, and see how accurate, or otherwise our predictions are.

The current squad, and their contract duration is detailed below. So let me see just how wholly inaccurate I can be to kick us all off. I believe that Chris Powell will be looking to sign either as first choice, or cover, for the following positions - centre back, right back, left midfield, central midfield, striker

Contract End - June 2012

Alonso has been released. Not an inspired signing as it turned out

Doherty has been released. The ginger Pele, can still do a job, but I suspect it is at no higher than third division level.

Euell has been released. A nostalgic return to AFC Wimbledon perhaps as a player coach?

Difficult; as he is theoretically one for the future, but at 21 years old later this year, he hasn't come close to the first team in the third division, so I don't believe he will be considered good enough for the second. I think he may well be released. Another one like Primus or Turner to come back and haunt us in a couple of years time perhaps?

I believe he has done enough to warrant Charlton taking up the option of the second year that is built into his current contract. He made a major step up to play in the third division, and has merited the chance to see if he can step up again

Contract End - June 2013

On paper, there wasn't much wrong with this signing. Replace Benson, who Powell obviously did not rate as good enough, with a player who at the time of signing was the third division's fourth top goalscorer. So what went wrong? Whatever the reason, this signing has to go down as a fail. I personally thought Benson was not given a fair chance last season, but nobody can doubt that football's nicest man has a ruthless streak about him as well. I expect him to be equally as ruthless moving Clarke on in the close season if he can.

Definitely bought with one eye on the second division. Cort was immense in central defence when called on, and much like our favourite Breton at the other end of the pitch, the ball and his head were never far apart. I suspect that signings aside, he will be first choice alongside Morrison next season, with Taylor as back up. I do believe that Powell will make a centre back signing though, who may well be a first choice to line up alongside Morrison instead of either Cort or Taylor.

Still young enough to be content with his lot as a squad player, I believe that Evina will continue to be the natural understudy to Wiggins next season

Difficult decision this one. Harriott did well when introduced in the 2010-11 season, but he did not feature in a single first team squad in league or cups last term. It could be that Powell feels that he needs more time to realise his potential, but Harriott will know that next season is make or break for him at the club. He needs to stop the show boating, and focus on the team. If another club came in for him, I am not convinced that Powell would fight that hard to keep him

Another, like Cort, that has been brought in with one eye on the second division. His pace gives options both as a striker, and just as crucially for me, on the right side of midfield as well. I got the feeling that Powell's delighted charge down the touchline when he scored the second against Hartlepool, was as much for the player, as it was for seeing Charlton take the lead.

Did he really do enough last season? In October / November when he came in to replace the injured Stephens, the answer would be yes, but other than that, he has been little more than a squad player all season, and there are others out there that can do the same job protecting the back four and more, which was largely his only contribution. He obviously didn't get much of a chance to impress as cover for Solly at right back either. I am not convinced that he will stay. I am not sure who else might want him though, so I wouldn't be too surprised to see him rock up at Sparrows Lane for the first day of pre-season.

Quand les mouettes volent par la barrière de la Tamise, c'est parce qu'ils ne veulent pas s'approcher trop près de La Vallée de peur d'être dirigé vers le large. Il est magnifique, et si j'étais une fille, je voudrais ses bébés. Je peux juste avoir voté pour lui en tant que joueur de la saison

Much like Harriott, Osborne is one for the future, and as a centre back, he may have greater longevity at the club than his cousin. Another, for whom next season is crucial.

Many people I have talked to have a big question mark over whether Hamer and Sullivan can cut it at second division level. As a bench warmer, I believe that there is a splinter with Sullivan's name on it at The Valley next season. If Hamer does have a bad start, I could see Powell looking for a new number one in January at the latest, which would undoubtedly see one or the other of Sullivan or Hamer leaving.

Immense for most of the season, Taylor's form did start to desert him mid way through March, after which he didn't really get a sniff, as Cort shone in his place. I don't believe that Taylor will be one of the two first choice centre backs next season, as I believe Powell will be looking either to Cort, or to a new signing to cement their place next to Morrison.

The right side of midfield is a bit awkward, as both Green and Wagstaff flatter to deceive. I believe that between the pair of them, they will be able to hold the right side of midfield, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see one of them not even in the squad, as Haynes gives a far more varied attacking threat than either Wagstaff or Green, especially from the bench

Well nobody can deny that he deserves his chance at the second division, but this won't be his first time there of course. The reality was that whilst at Southampton, he was not exactly prolific, and he has been injured a few times since those days. I am going to stick my neck out here, and say that I don't believe that Powell will want to use Wright-Phillips as his first choice partner for Kermorgant. I think Haynes will be used as an impact sub, or from the right of midfield, and I don't think N'Guessan will be the new arrival either, but I believe there will be one

Contract End - June 2014

The right side of midfield is a bit awkward, as both Green and Wagstaff flatter to deceive. I believe that between the pair of them, they will be able to hold the right side of midfield, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see one of them not even in the squad, as Haynes gives a far more varied attacking threat than either Wagstaff or Green, especially from the bench

A big season ahead for our number one. I believe he is capable of the next step up, but he will be as aware as anyone, that a poor start will see him replaced in fairly short order, and it won't be by Sullivan either.

I like Hayes a lot. An intelligent footballer; the subtlety of some of his play is missed by many, including his own team mates, and I for one would be sorry to see him go, but I believe he will. There are too many ahead of him at Charlton, but as his time at Wycombe showed, he can find the net on a regular basis, and if he is to leave I wish him all the best. I also believe he could succeed with us in the second division.

An ever present other than during the period of his three match ban, I believe the only question for next season is who plays alongside him? Not the most incisive or creative of passers, but a genuine goal threat, and puts in a shift in the engine room.

A number of questions about Jackson that Powell will will be thinking long and hard about. Is he good enough to play on the left in the second division? Answer; probably. Will he stay fit? Answer; probably not. Could Jackson play in the centre of midfield? Answer, possibly; although it is telling that when he has had the opportunity to play Jackson inside with a wide man on the left, Powell hasn't done it. I believe that our manager will want a speciality left sided midfielder, and that man could be Anthony Wordsworth from Colchester. What does that mean for Jackson? More bench appearances than starts potentially, especially if a midfield ball player is also drafted in

Nailed on first choice centre back as far as I am concerned. The only question is will it be Cort, or a new signing that lines up alongside him, and will that new signing be Osbourne from Brentford?

The departure of Gough to Bristol Rovers sent a strong signal to young Pope that although he is one for the future, he can rightfully claim to be Charlton's number three. Steady progression is what is required next season. He graced the bench for two FA Cup games last term, and I would expect to see more bench warming cup action for him next season.

Widely acclaimed as the most creative player in the squad, and wih an eye for the killer pass, the pairing of Stephens and Hollands was fundamental to the early season success, but then from mid October until the end of January, there was no Stephens. In his place, Hughes, Pritchard, and Russell filled in, and the promotion bandwagon didn't falter. When Stephens did return from injury though, he was but a pale shadow of the player who had been so crucial to the early season performances. This is another issue that Powell will need to resolve. Is Stephens just lacking fitness even now?, or do Charlton need another creative midfield maestro? I suspect we do, and I believe that Powell will be looking for just such a player during the summer.

Another likely lad for whom next season is all about steady progression, and loan spells somewhere further down the football pyramid

There is little doubt in my mind that at the very least, Charlton need cover at right back. Even if Hughes stays, I don't see him as being the regular back up to our current player of the season. I wonder whether it might be Jordan Cousins breakthrough year?, but it would be a lot to ask at second division level. Now for something controversial. I am not convinced that Powell would be looking at just a reserve. I think he will be looking for somebody better. Why? Well, we saw last season that if a team possessed a bruiser who could play at left mid, then Solly was in for a torrid afternoon. It was enough of a concern at Stevenage for Powell to drop him, and play Morrison. Whether the decision was right or not, I could see the logic of why the manager had done it, as it wasn't the first time that Solly had been targeted by the opposition. Last season he was good enough to see most of them off, a notable exception being Ibehre at MK Dons, who doubled up on him with Balanta. It was a testing examination, and eventually drew a penalty when Solly fouled Lewington. I have no doubt that Solly deserves to start next season, but I won't be too surprised if he doesn't, or at the very least has somebody as good, or better, breathing down his neck.

For me, it was a close run thing between Wiggins and Kermorgant for player of the season. I gave it to the Frenchman, but only because it took Wiggins a little time to settle in. The trademark runs that form such a crucial part of his play were not in evidence at the start of the season, and looking back, serves as a reminder of the enormity of the task that Chris Powell had undertaken. I expect him to thrive in the second division, and with Evina as back up, I believe we are in good shape at the left side of defence

Will any of the loan players provide Chris Powell with the "upgrades" he is looking for? Of the three loan rangers, Cook, N'Guessan, and Russell, possibly the first two might add something, but I think Charlton can do better. Of the youngsters, I think Cousins and Bover are the most likely, but I suspect that Powell much like Curbishley will be averse to risking untried talent in anything but the cup competitions.

I am sure there is lots to agree and disagree with in my summary, but one thing is for sure, we are on a roll. I am convinced that next season, we will be competitive, regardless of what players come or go in the next three months.

1 comment:

  1. Controversial in places DD, but not outrageous!

    very interesting.

    Pembury addick