By Alex Stedman – @astedman1
The games keep coming thick and fast for Bob Peeters’ side, and tonight Bolton Wanderers and new manager Neil Lennon visit The Valley under the lights…
The defeat on Saturday was the side’s first in the league this season. It was a painfully frustrating afternoon for everyone associated with Charlton at the Goldsands Stadium, with the team unable to claw their way back into the game following an early set back.
The visiting defence gave hotshot Callum Wilson the freedom of the penalty area to allow him to put his side ahead after just two minutes, and it was a scoreline The Cherries held until the final whistle.
What followed was an uncharacteristically poor performance from Charlton for the remainder of the game – the half time departure of Igor Vetokele did nothing to help the cause, and it’s now up to Peeters and the team to quickly respond in front of their own fans this evening.
Bolton’s 1-0 win at Birmingham City on Sunday lifted The Trotters off the foot of the table and above Blackpool onto eight points – the match was Neil Lennon’s first in charge, and the fiery character will no doubt demand more of the same from his troops tonight.
View from the home dugout:
Bob Peeters was left understandably disappointed after the defeat on Saturday, and was left to concede that the better side won.
“I think Bournemouth did very well, they pressed us very high and we didn’t have a solution,” he said.
“We gave a goal away when in possession of the ball when we wanted to switch the play.
“We conceded a corner, they played it well and scored a goal. But, overall, I think if you saw the game they deserved the win.”
However, one positive that the manager could take from the afternoon was the performance of teenage striker Karlan Ahearne-Grant. The forward was left to lead the line on his own in the second half following the substitutions, but Peeters was proud of the way he handled the situation.
“I think he did brilliantly, he did everything we asked,” Peeters said.
“We said ‘OK give your maximum for 60 minutes and we’ll see’ but because of the circumstance with Jackson – and Gudmundsson was struggling as well – he kept on fighting and playing well.
“I’m happy with his performance but not the team’s.”
Opposition in focus:
Bolton ended a run of five matches without a win on Saturday with a 1-0 victory at St Andrews. New manager Neil Lennon was sent to the stands as Matt Mills’ goal was enough to secure a vital win for the Lancashire side.
Before that, a wretched start to the season had seen the club depart company with Dougie Freedman – and after former Charlton man Andy Hughes filled the void for a short period of time, it’s Lennon who is now looking to move the club forward and up the table.
Mills, the matchwinner on Saturday, was quick to praise the effect that the arrival of Lennon has had on the side.
“I don’t think I’ve ever come across a more inspirational person in terms of being a winner.”
“It’s no surprise he’s had such a fantastic career himself when he was playing because of his love and passion for the game.”
With the central defender clearly in buoyant mood, Charlton could have their hands full this evening.
“In training the lads are buzzing. The manager has put his point across and it’s just a start really – we’re all excited for what can be achieved this season.”
It was honours evening in both meetings between the sides last season – with a 1-1 and 0-0 draw.
The match at The Reebok Stadium in late December finished 1-1, with Yann Kermorgant giving Charlton an early lead in the North west. Kevin McNaughton levelled for the home side just before half time to deny Chris Powell’s side all three points.
The reverse fixture in March at The Valley wasn’t one that lived long in the memory, with the game ending 0-0. The biggest talking point from the contest was the decision to deny Simon Church a penalty when he was clumsily fouled by keeper Adam Bogdan.
Team News and Line-Up:
The biggest team news to arise from the defeat on Saturday is the achilles injury that top scorer Igor Vetokele picked up. It’s unlikely he’ll play a part in the game this evening. The substitution of captain Johnnie Jackson was down to a final warning from the referee, not an injury, and so he should start this evening.
Solly Ben-Haim Bikey Wiggins
Cousins Jackson Buyens Moussa
The line-up for this evening’s game is a difficult one to call given the proximity of matches over this week, but that’s how I’d like to see us line up.
The back four picks itself given the ankle injury Joe Gomez currently has. The midfield includes Franck Moussa – the cover star of tonight’s Valley Review, in place of Johann Gudmundsson who looked tired on Saturday . Up front, I’d pick Tucudean to start the game. He may not have set the world alight during his career in SE7 so far, but now is as good a time as any to really stake his claim for a more permanent role in the side.
Partnering Ahearne-Grant up front tonight could see the two compliment one another nicely – with Tucudean holding up play and allowing Ahearne-Grant to feed off the targetman.
Match Prediction: Charlton 1-1 Bolton
Despite Saturday’s defeat I haven’t lost as much heart in the side as some others I’ve read over the last couple of days.
There’s no getting away from the fact that it was an extremely below par performance, but the character of our manager and the spirit in the side gives me encouragement that the loss won’t be too detrimental to our good start.
My only worry is that our opponents this evening will come here full of heart, and in confident mood after their win at the weekend. I’ll side with a stalemate – another point to the already impressive tally.
Come on you Reds!