By Alex Stedman – @astedman1
Bob Peeters’ side travel to the south coast tomorrow afternoon looking to maintain their unbeaten league record. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side provide the opposition…
The international fortnight has provided fans with an opportunity to have a break from domestic action, and Charlton fans now have three games to look forward to in the space of just six days.
First up is a trip to the Goldsands Stadium down in Dorset, where Bournemouth will be looking to put an end to Charlton’s remarkable league run as the visitors attempt to go 12 unbeaten.
Even the most optimistic of Charlton fans couldn’t have foreseen such a fantastic start to the campaign, but with the achievement comes added pressure and provides teams with even more of an incentive to get a result against Bob Peeters’ side.
Bournemouth have made a solid start to the season, and find themselves on 15 points in 11th position in the SkyBet Championship. Their home games so far this term have yielded three wins, two losses, and a draw – with that in mind, fans of the south Londoners have every reason to be hopeful that their side can get another win tomorrow afternoon.
View from the home dugout:
Yesterday Bob Peeters revealed that Icelandic winger Johann Gudmundsson could be welcomed back into the fold following three weeks off with a knee injury.
The September Manager of the Month nominee said that a decision will be made after today’s training session.
“He is training at this moment, but if you have been out for a few weeks then you are not 100 per cent.
He is one of the guys who we will wait until after Friday’s training to decide if he can be in the squad.”
Elsewhere, Peeters admitted he didn’t even get to see the injury that Simon Church picked up on international duty with Wales in midweek.
“I was about to watch the Wales game and I was three minutes too late, he was already off the pitch. He dislocated his shoulder, but it could take a while. That will probably be a few weeks.”
Opposition in focus:
The season started well for Howe’s Cherries, as they romped to a 4-0 win at Huddersfield on the opening day – a result which cost Mark Robins his job at the Terriers.
A 1-0 home win followed a week later, but the side then went six matches without a win in the league – three draws and three losses undoubtedly undid the good early work.
However since then, wins over Cardiff, Wigan and Bolton have followed, meaning Howe and the side find themselves safely back in the middle of the pack. But given last season’s late surge for a top six finish, you’d have to assume that fans of the club will demand more from a side with a host of talented attacking individuals.
Yann Kermorgant’s red card in their last game means he’ll be unavailable for selection tomorrow, but even without the talismanic Frenchman, the boss still has plenty of options.
“It is disappointing to lose Yann,” Howe said.
He’s such a pivotal player for us, as Charlton will know.
He performed really well at Bolton before getting a red card, so it will be a blow to lose him for three games.”
In Tuesday’s 2-1 win at struggling Bolton, summer signing Callum Wilson netted a brace – the former Coventry man having been operating as a lone striker for almost an hour following Kermorgant’s dismissal.
The fan favourite conceded he has a selection decision to make for Saturday’s clash with Peeters’ side.
“But it presents someone else with an opportunity, whether that’s a centre forward or a midfielder to stake their claim depending on what we do.”
The two contests between the sides last season saw the home side take the spoils on each occasion.
Charlton travelled to AFC Bournemouth on the opening day of the 2013/14 campaign, and were on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline – Yann Kermorgant had levelled with a superb volley following Grabban’s opener.
The now Norwich City forward got his and Bournemouth’s second in the second half to ensure Howe’s men began with a win.
The reverse fixture at The Valley resulted in a vital 1-0 for Jose Riga’s men – Dorian Dervite’s late header in front of the Covered End gave the Addicks all three points during their last gasp battle for Championship survival.
Team News and Line-Up:
Bob Peeters has said he’s waiting on today’s training session to assess the individuals who’ve been away with their national sides – Gudmundsson, Ben-Haim and Bulot were all central to his press briefing yesterday morning.
Three games in six days means the squad is set to be rotated, and Peeters admitted it’s unlikely Bulot will be 100 percent fit following his exploits on Saturday and Wednesday, so with that in mind I’ll hazard a guess we’ll line-up as follows…
Solly Bikey Ben-Haim Wiggins
Gudmundsson Jackson Buyens Cousins
At the moment the back four virtually picks itself. Ahead of them, I’d anticipate Gudmundsson to be involved from the off, with the familiar partnership of Yoni Buyens and Johnnie Jackson being given the central berth.
One thing I would like to see is Cousins to be given a more central role, because he isn’t a winger. Therefore, Peeters could opt to put Moussa out on the left, pushing Cousins into the centre, leaving Igor Vetokele to operate as a lone forward in a 4-5-1, and away from home that’s not an unrealistic scenario.
Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 1-2 Charlton Athletic
You know exactly what you’re going to get with this formidable Charlton side, we’re well drilled and are a match for any opponent in the division.
The style that has been deployed so far – soaking up pressure and hitting the opposition on the counter attack, is tailored perfectly for away games like the one tomorrow. The hosts are likely to come flying out the blocks and ask questions of the Addicks early on with the likes of Wilson and Matt Ritchie being central to their approach play.
But with the evidently upbeat mood in the camp, coupled with away performances like the one at Carrow Road on the last day of September, I’m confident we can chalk up another win to keep us around the top six.
It’ll be a narrow win, but one which the sold-out travelling contingent will no doubt enjoy!
Come on you Reds!