Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Is there enough quality in depth to stave off relegation fears...

The waitings nearly over, as our pre season preperation gathers pace. Away to Ebbsfleet tonight, then on to Peterborough and Portsmouth before the big kick off at Griffin Park.

Despite still being a couple of players light in the midfield still in my opinion and perhaps one more up front the squad is looking better than this time last term, if not as many in numbers. With 3 keepers, including Henderson - who I have high hopes for, 8 defenders including two new reccruits who have significant experience of the Championship plus Gomez who I'm certain will be given the opportunity to step up into the first team squad at his tender age. Based on the spin coming from Agent Bob (as my Millwall supporting mates are referrig to him) and the mature way he put himself about so far this pre season.

In miidfield we have 7 which includes the already crocked Moussa, and Buyens and Gudmundsson, two signings that I think come the end of the season we may all be raving about. The balance being made up of Jackson and the still quite young and inexperienced trio of Cousins (he'll be upto the job though) and Osbourne and Harriott. (Although if he does continue his late bounce back and flourish from the end of last season may turn out to be a star).

Up front, which lets face it was one of the areas we were really lacking last season there's plenty to choose from, the only problem is the quality of depth on offer.

Let us assume that Vetokele and Tucuden can play together, and score some goals. All good. But whent he inevitable injuries do come in to play, or we need to rest players, then the back up on offer is pretty thin on quality.

Reza may not be with the club. He may still be with the club, but that performance in the World Cup may turn out to have been driven by pride and the fact that he upped his game whilst performing on the worlds biggest stage.

On the face of it Church, however hard working, just doesn't cut it as a forward. Piggott based on what i've seen so far is the same. (I don't buy the age and experience argument - think Lee Phillips, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Rob Lee, Darren Bent - all attacking players whose youth did not hold back their ability). Then you've got Polish Pete, who may or may not be on loan to one of our younger sisters in the RD family. I still think we need a weathered tried and tested Chaampionship striker who can start some games or make an impact from the bench.

All in all, nothing near the doom and gloom that some were anticipating at the end of last season.

I remain quietly confident that we are about to embark on a steady and sensible accent from the horrible decline, on and off the field we have all bore witness to over recent uuears. Come on Postie, bring me my season ticket!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Here we go again...

It seems to have gone amazingly quickly, the close season. No doubt thanks to whats been a scintillating World Cup.

This, coupled with what was ultimately, a very busy and hopefully fruitful Summer of activity at the club both on the playing side of things and back of house.

The doom bringers anticipated influx on network 'stiffs' never transpired to happen, we even reportedly spent over 2 million Euro's on a striker.

The incoming players listed on the site as first team squad players all look, on paper, to bring some extra quality against those outgoing players they have replaced. (With the obvious excpetion of Poyet, but lets just move on from what was absolutely inevitable).

If charm and an ability to articulate in press conferences is an indication of how good the new manager is going to be, then we've nothing to fear. Although obviously it isn't, so we wait to see. RD however has got this type of decision right so far. Keeping some of the existing backroom staff also seems to me to be quite a shrew idea.

Away from the playing side of things the new pitch looks great, and money has been well spent on getting the stadium looking spruce and bright red again. I was also pleased that we have a new catering company on board. I do hope this means my matchday pint and lunch is vastly improved upon the dross thats been served up at extortinate prices for the last few seasons.

Oh and lets not forget a new home kit, thats actually started to grow on me.

I'll be interested to see what team lines up in each half at Park View Road this afternoon. Can't wait!

Here we go again...

Friday, 4 July 2014

Exciting days ahead...

Charlton squad for the Philips Stayen Cup: Zak Ansah, André Bikey-Amougou, Yoni Buyens, Simon Church, Jordan Cousins, Tomasz Cywka, Kadell Daniel, Morgan Fox, Joe Gomez, Callum Harriott, Johnnie Jackson, Harry Lennon, Dimitar Mitov (gk), Michael Morrison, Franck Moussa, Jack Munns, Loic Nego, Piotr Parzyszek, Dillon Phillips (gk), Joe Pigott, Nick Pope (gk), Chris Solly, Igor Vetokele, Rhoys Wiggins, Lawrie Wilson.

So we set off for the start of our pre season campaign, and there seem to be two trialists in what has been referred to on the official site as the 'first team' squad, along with some of the Charlton Yoof having been upgraded to squad status possibly for the oncoming season.

Below is a quick thumbnail of each of the two trialists.

André Stéphane Bikey-Amougou[1] (born 8 January 1985) is aCameroonian footballer, who last played in the Superleague Greece for Panetolikos. He can play in the centre of defence or at right back. He began his career in Spain at the age of fifteen, before having short spells in Russia with Shinnik Yaroslavl andLokomotiv Moscow. In 2006, he moved to England, where he joined Reading on loan after impressing their manager while on trial. After three seasons at Reading, he signed a three-year deal with Burnley. He is generally known by his first surname Bikeyexcept between 2011 and 2012 while playing for Burnley, when he decided to officially use his second surname Amougou.

Tomasz Wojciech Cywka (Polish pronunciation: [ˈtɔmaʂ ˈtsɨfka]; born 27 June 1988) is a Polish footballer who plays for Barnsley as a midfielder. He managed to score 8 times for relegated Barnsley last season.

A defender and a midfielder.

Based on this being our first team squad, and the two trialists impressing enough to to get themselves contracts our breakdown based on third of the pitch will look like this:

3 goalkeepers (all rather young so one more experienced keeper will be needed.)

9 defenders (3 youngsters, not including Fox and one trialist leaves five recognised first teamers)

8 midfielders (I include Wilson as a midfielder as I'm a converted fan of him going forward. So much so he got my vote for player of the year. One trialist and a youngster leaves six first teamers.)

5 attackers (three development players, Church 'couldn't hit a barn door, but hard worker', and Vetokele - who at the moment we are pinning  an awful lot of hope on)

I think all will agree that regardless of Peeeeeeters will and prowess in apparently brining on young talent we will desperately need to bolster our numbers.

Perhaps this weekends tournament will give him a better idea of which of the academy graduates are capable of making the step up. Then giving the management team a better idea of what type of players need to be invested in to create a squad that will compete in the Championship.

I remain cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season and that our new management team have a considered strategy going forward.

The new pitch is down, and money has been spent on sprucing up what was, let's face it, a rather run down stadium. All good stuff that says to me that there is a will-full objective to drag the club back up towards its former recent glory. (I just hope they've sorted the kasis out in the west stand).

The club apparently are live streaming the game on the official website tomorrow night. A nice move, that slightly winds me up as I pay a fairly pointless subscription to cafc TV, but I will be watching with my son with great interest.

Officially excited!