Wednesday 24 December 2008

QPR Preview

And so we come to the last home game of a year that most Charlton fans will want to forget. What an absolutely gutting one it's been. Visits to The Valley have been all too miserable this year and if any set of fans are in need of something to smile about this Christmas, it has to be the Addickted. Standing in the way of us and a bit of festive cheer is Flavio Briatore's revolution led by Paulo Sousa. They are pushing for the play-offs and will provide a stiff test (although to be honest there aren't many teams who don't these days).

The general consensus seems to be that Parkinson needs to pull rabbits out of hats in this game and the next (against Sheffield United on Sunday) in order to keep the manager's job on a permanent basis. Parkinson strikes me as a fairly decent and straight forward guy but unfortunately it's difficult to disagree with this line of thought. Two points gained from the eighteen available to him so far tells its own story and if we continue in this vein of form then we can probably start preparing for the third tier at the end of January.

Potential candidates for the managerial hot seat continue to be thrown around in the press, with Paul Ince and the combination of Paul Trollope and Lennie Lawrence the latest in the mix. I am not sure what I make of either of those two to be honest. Ince, like many of the Addickted, I do not think I would be keen on. He succeeded in saving Macclesfield from non-league football and getting the Milton Keynes franchise promoted to League One, but his record at Blackburn can not be ignored and I can't help but feel this will have effected him somewhat. On a personal level, he also does not strike me as a particularly nice man. The Trollope/Lawrence combination is an interesting one but again their successes have been played out at a lower level. I am also very wary of a two man management team.

Whether Parkinson stays or whether a new man comes in, I think irreparable damage has been done by the dithering we've seen over the past couple of months. Pardew was given far too long before the axe finally fell (sorry, before he left "by mutual consent") and I think the same has happened with Parkinson to be honest. Some would suggest that he would need to be a magician to turn around what he was left with, but he was given the chance to make his own loan signings and stamp his authority on the team, both to little effect.

The board's statement that they would not be making a managerial appointment until the new year as there could be no change of player personnel until such time simply doesn't wash. Surely you want new man to have as much time as possible to assess the squad, work out who is in and who is out and identify any potential transfer targets in time to hit the ground running in January. What they probably meant to say was, "We'd like to give Phil Parkinson until the end of the year to see if he's up to the job in which case we won't have to make an expensive new managerial appointment".

In player terms, it's difficult to know who is still around and who is available to play these days. Linvoy Primus seems to have returned to Portsmouth (although I never reading anything about it on the club site), Keith Gillepsie is about to head back to Sheffield (more) and Jay McEveley (who I thought was out for ages and heading back to Derby) is apparently fit again. Blimey. Rumour has it, we also have some of our own players rather than those we are borrowing off other clubs but reading down the squad list (as I am doing now) it is looking less than inspirational for a relegation dogfight.

Anyway, Parkinson has to cobble together a team for this game and he seems to have stumbled upon something approaching a starting XI over the past couple of games. It seems to be a fairly sensible line up to be fair, with the only mystery being what on earth has happened to Svetoslav Todorov. I was hoping his return from injury would provide an experienced head around which to base our attacking play (not to mention a few goals) but he seems to be slowly fading into the background.

All things considered, this is what I reckon Parky will go for on Boxing Day: Elliot, Cranie, Hudson, Fortune, McEveley, Sam, Semedo, Bailey, Bouazza, Gray, Waghorn. Subs: Weaver, Shelvey, Holland, Todorov, Burton.

Even the optimist in me can't see us getting anything more than a draw out of this but maybe Parkinson can provide a bit more motivation in the knowledge that he probably has two games to save his job. Due to transportation issues I don't know whether I'm going to be able to make to the Valley although hope I can to cheer the team on one more time this year and pray that The Valley will be a happier place to visit in the new year. Regardless, a very happy Christmas to everybody and here's hoping for three points on Friday.

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