Charlton welcome Nottingham Forest to The Valley for their first competitive fixture of 2016 in a game that will see demonstrations from fans before and after the game.
LEWIS CATT looks ahead to Saturday’s game
Its all very doom and gloom for Charlton fans at the moment and it would be insulting to state that the events prior this game and after it outside the west stand are irrelevant. The fans are not happy and its a lot more than 2% as we saw against Wolves on Monday, but the events on the pitch are just as important and the Addicks need the points if they are to muster up any kind of attempt to save our season and prevent this club dropping into the third tier. Another defeat would only increase those worries of League One football next year. Although safety is only two points away not many fans can see us picking any points up of late.
Performances are becoming more dull and the belief is well and truly gone amongst whatever 18-man squad we dispatch. Things must dramatically improve and fast. After seeing emails between Peter Varney, Katrien Meire and Roland himself thanks to the Voice Of The Valley, fans have been extremely angered by the pure lack of interest in potential investment for this club. That along with the performances on the pitch, they way the club is being run and the severe lack of engagement between club and owner. There are scheduled protests outside the west stand at 2:30pm and 5pm and if you plan to attend I would encourage you to do so and keep the protesting as admirable and respectful as the Black and White campaign was last month.
Back to the game now though and as much as I have said this before the Addicks will see this as a must win game. Every game should be treated as a must win between now and May and we need to make The Valley a tough place to visit again. You can see of late that our own players do not like to play here. Charlton’s defeat to Wolves on Monday made it seven games without a win, despite Harry Lennon’s equaliser on Boxing Day being stated as our “turning point” this could not be further than the truth. The mentality is all over the place and I still stand that it has to be a coaching issue. You can’t have 3 or 4 opportunities to turn your season around and fluff your lines every time. A manager must hammer the importance of results into the players and I do not believe this is being done. Karel is in over his head and I actually feel sorry for him now.
Our depleted squad does not help the Addicks woes on the pitch. With Ademola Lookman looking likely to miss out due to the hamstring injury he sustained at Wolves Charlton will be looking at Simon Makienok to deliver. The sarcastic cheers for the forward really do grind my gears but I feel he does need to bring more to the team. Johann Berg Gudmundsson is also a doubt, which leaves the Addicks even shorter in attacking flair. Cristian Ceballos returned to the bench against Wolves but it would be a huge ask to expect him to play a full 90 minutes now. Callum Harriott’s loan at Colchester has now finished so we could see him return to the squad. Now to our leaky defence… Patrick Bauer is still doubtful, as is Alou Diarra. This means Naby Sarr will more than likely continue alongside Harry Lennon. Chris Solly probably my man of the match against Wolves should continue at right back with Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Morgan Fox fighting it out for the left back position.
Henderson, Solly, Sarr, Lennon, Holmes-Dennis, Jackson, Cousins, Reza, Vaz Te, Ceballos, Makienok.
Dougie Freedman is expected to welcome back a number of players for this trip. Henri Lansbury, Nelson Oliveira and Ben Osburn all missed their trip to Cardiff. Oliver Burke scored his first senior goal against the Bluebirds and should keep his place. Big news for Forest is club captain Chris Cohen being in line for a long awaited return. He has been out with a cruciate ligament injury. Although the skipper will almost certainly not start. You can see his presence having a Johnnie Jackson like impact.
It’s hard to predict it any other way at the moment. I want to be optimistic but I have to be realistic.
Charlton 0-2 Forest.
See you Saturday Addicks fans. Happy New Year.
You can follow Lewis on Twitter – @LewisCatt9