Charlton travel to the KC Stadium to this weekend to face high flying Hull City. After another week of off the pitch drama and midweek drubbings, the Addicks must battle against the odds to try and get something from this game.
LEWIS CATT looks ahead to tomorrow’s game
Karel Fraeye has been sacked as Interim Head Coach after the absolute shambles of last weekend’s cup exit to Colchester United and the midweek drubbing at the hands of Huddersfield Town… we won’t mention the final score. Exiting the cup to statistically the worst team in the country (surely we must be chasing this title) and getting hammered 5-0 by a team only a few places above deemed to be one horror show to far for Roland Duchatalet and Karel Fraeye was dismissed Wednesday evening.
I’m going to place on record that I do feel sorry for Karel Fraeye; you could see him deteriorate personally as his tenure went on. He seemed to take personal offence to comments made in the media. Still some could believe that he was tactically inept and frustration grew amongst supporters pretty quickly as results and performances worsened. I look back at the Sheffield Wednesday game and Birmingham game and cannot see where it went wrong. Did he lose the dressing room?
The thing that got me the most with Karel was his tactical naivety. The main example for me being playing Morgan Fox every week only to sub him for Tareiq Holmes-Dennis after an hour. In my eyes it is such a waste of a sub and if he didn’t feel Fox was good enough to play the 90 minutes then he should be playing Holmes-Dennis in this role. We haven’t had the luxury of a consistent back four this season with the side being constantly plagued by injury, but it is still paramount you form some kind of partnership and understanding between whatever back four we have to field.
Still this is something that new/old/returning head coach Jose Riga can address. I like Jose Riga, for me he came in last time and won the fans over and there was a real togetherness in the squad and amongst fans. This time however he is without that. The atmosphere around SE7 is poisonous with off field protests, the players to quote Stephen Henderson are “probably at the lowest they could be in their careers” and he is without the solid backroom team left by Chrissy Powell with Alex Dyer, Damien Matthew, Phil Chapple and Ben Roberts all departing the club since Rigas last reign in 2014.
Hull City are the first test in the Riga era part 2 although we are unsure what role he will have in Saturdays game with Wim De Corte and Jason Euell expected to oversee this contest.
I have never seen an Addicks side look more divided and defeated. The video uploaded by CAFCOfficial on the day of the Huddersfield game looked like a dressing room full of silent uninterested characters.
Charlton could welcome back Jordan Cousins after the knee injury he picked up at Colchester wasn’t as serious as first thought. He could come into the centre of midfield alongside Johnnie Jackson or Diego Poyet. Morgan Fox’s place in the side looks to be even more under threat after a poor display at Huddersfield with Tareiq Holmes-Dennis breathing down his neck for a starting place.
Solly should continue at right back with Johnson, Williams, Lennon or Sarr available to place in the leaky CB positions. Johann Berg Gudmundsson could play in right midfield or in a number 10 role behind one of Simon Makienok, Igor Vetokele or Ricardo Vaz Te; the latter will do well to start after Tuesday.
Stephen Henderson should continue in goal. The game unfortunately comes too soon for Ademola Lookman who I hope stays this window. Patrick Bauer, Alou Diarra and Ahmed Kashi are all out of action for the longer term.
Henderson, Solly, Williams, Lennon, Holmes-Dennis, Gudmundsson, Cousins, Jackson, Poyet, Ceballos, Vaz Te.
Hull will be without Michael Dawson and Alex Bruce for the game against the Addicks. Despite both players returning to training this week, the game will come too soon for both players. This leaves Steve Bruce fairly short in reserve with both Curtis Davies and Harry Maguire filling the void in the centre of defence.
Adama Diamande is out with a groin strain so Steve Bruce is unlikely to change the XI who disposed of Cardiff City on Wednesday night. This will see Allan McGregor start in goal, a defence made up of Moses Odubajo, Harry Maguire, Curtis Davies and Andrew Robertson.
In midfield Ahmed Elmohamady, Jake Livermore, David Meyler and Sam Clucas. Up front for the tigers Mohammed Diame and Abel Hernandez. A strong Hull side not to mention the likes of Sone Aluko, Robert Snodgrass, Tom Huddlestone and Chuba Akpom on the bench.
The optimistic me is going for Hull City 0-1 Charlton.
The realistic me is going for Hull City 4-0 Charlton.
What Riga/De Corte/Euell Must Do:
· Rebuild team spirit and confidence. The team look defeated before the game even begins. Team spirit is at the lowest I have seen in a Charlton side in all the years I have been going.
· Fix the leaky defence. Real focus must go into a consistent and reliable centre back pairing. Having Bauer back to play alongside one of the others with Diarra anchoring in CDM should help this.
· Get the strikers scoring. Without Tony Watt and Ademola Lookman our most reliable source of fire power has been Reza Ghoochannejhad. Getting Igor Vetokele back the player he was at the start of last season has to be an aim.
· Stop the heads dropping when we concede. The main culprit being those goals just before half time.
· Keep hold of Gudmundsson and Lookman. Player recruitment will be essential but retaining the services of these two will be key in our survival.
You can follow Lewis on Twitter – @LewisCatt9