Rhoys Wiggins and Danny Haynes could return for Charlton after a considerable time on the sidelines.
Blues have no new injury worries and Jonathan Spector is an outside bet to make the bench.
Blues played Charlton on the first day of the season when the weather was hot and hopes were high (well higher). The game ended in a 1-1 draw. Blues equaliser coming in injury time from Nikola Zigic.
Charlton are 14th and have lost their last two games. They did win the three before that though. They have been better away from home this season, at The Valley they have won just four times.
Blues are 16th, two points behind the Addicks. They have won their last two and are unbeaten in the league since losing to Cardiff on New Years Day.
So with a two game winning streak under our belt we head off to The Valley to take on Charlton Athletic. Theirs is a ground I have always enjoyed visiting but we haven’t had a chance to go to since 2009 as we have been in different divisions. Charlton are a friendly club, we get a generous allocation and for a London club it’s not too difficult to get in and out of. I also used to live down that way so for a while they were my second team. They are doing better than expected and while they are only two points ahead of us they probably haven’t been thinking about relegation as much as the Addicks fan I spoke to on that first day was.
Speaking of relegation I read an article this week on Often Partisan looking at the chances of relegation and of reaching the playoffs. The conclusion was that a playoff finish is unlikely (I agree) but to avoid relegation we may only need another eight points. This was based on an average of forty-five points being required in previous seasons but I think we will need much more. This season other than Cardiff the teams have been more evenly matched and in recent weeks this has been shown with the bottom three picking up points. Also you have to remember that the total last year would have been higher without Portsmouth’s point deduction. I personally won’t be comfortable until we have fifty-one points which is still only four more wins and a couple of draws. I see no reason why we can’t get that by Easter.
Last week’s game was a lot of fun with the bating of Mr McLeish but it was also a good performance particularly in the second half. Our new signing Wes Thomas showed some promise and that goalie we got from Stoke had a solid game. I’m not sure what the reasoning in starting Thomas ahead of Zigic was though. I’m not the big man’s greatest fan (More on a value for money basis) but I can’t see what he has done wrong in recent weeks. To me it makes more sense to get Zigic to give the defenders a hard time from the start and then put the pacier Thomas on later when they have tired. The star turn last week was Chris Burke who also did well for Scotland in midweek. McLeish must have been fuming that they didn’t step up the extra cash for him in the window and that may have been a factor in him leaving Forest on Monday. We really needed Burke’s goal since the strikers missed a number of good chances and Marlon King especially didn’t have his shooting boots on.
With a bit of good feeling around the club at last I reckon we can keep our unbeaten run going and I may even get to see us win at The Valley for the first time since Christophe Dugarry’s majestic back heeled goal in 2003. I’ll be cautious for now though.
Charlton 1 Blues 1
C’mon you Blue Boys.