View From The Town End: Charlton

Ian Walton

So after a somewhat unexpected win at Forest it's back to the home comforts of the Madejski where we're still unbeaten this season. Now that I've jinxed that record, here's the Charlton view on tonight's game from Al Gordon from God, Charlton & Punk Rock

How would you sum up Charlton's season so far?

Very frustrating. After a good run-in last season, seeing us move away from the relegation dog fight and up to a more than impressive ninth spot, we felt that the good form would then be carried over into the new campaign. Unfortunately Chris Powell found it very hard to strengthen the squad whilst we lost match winning strikers.

We've had a couple of great away wins but our home form has again been poor. A little consistency and it could be a different picture but, as we proved on Saturday against Ipswich, stringing a run of wins together is not our forte. This could be a long hard season.

It's the first league meeting for the two sides since both were in the Premier League, it's safe to say Charlton haven't had the best of it since then but is the club heading back in the right direction?

We are certainly in a much better position than we were three years ago when the new owners came in and appointed Chris Powell. It's no secret that the club is now up for sale, an American billionaire is the latest to show an interest, he already owns a basketball team and an ice hockey club. In theory the future looks rosy but it is of course speculation. There is also talk of him selling The Valley and building a new stadium close to the O2 Arena.

The players we have now certainly seem keener to play for the club than those in our last league meeting, but with all the takeover talks many players and staff are worryingly in the last year of their contracts, including the gaffer!

Simon Church divided fans' opinions here during his time with Reading. How's he looked at Charlton so far?

He's fast becoming a cult hero here! I was very concerned when we first bought him, feeling it was perhaps a desperation buy. With a week to go to the season's big kick off we were still without a number 9 and a number 10 in the squad. Church had already had an unsuccessful trial at Birmingham and seemed unwanted by anyone, therefore happy to be offered any deal. At last a player we could afford!

Since his arrival he has given 100% in every match, running relentlessly and chasing every cause, lost and otherwise. We love that kind of commitment here, he will never break any scoring records but his work rate has certainly won over many hearts. Once again Chris Powell proved he has far better judgement than me.

Any fond memories of games against Reading?

No particular game stands out but you did have one of my favourite grounds, Elm Park. I visited there twice, both times standing on that terrace behind the goal, the atmosphere was always fantastic. And I remember a wonderful little boozer just a stone's throw from the ground, I couldn't tell you its name, but it welcomed away fans, kept a good pint and was an old fashioned pub. Totally different to the Harvester type affair I ended up in when visiting Oxford's Manor Ground.

Any not so fond ones?

The new place. Atmosphere, location, it couldn't be further from the old match day experience. Not that that's your fault, it's the same at all these new catalogue stadiums. If the American has his way it could well happen to us in the near future.

Oh, and I believe we've only won one of our last fifteen league visits to your place. No wonder the fond memories are thin on the ground.

Any player you're not looking forward to facing?

I believe Royston Drenthe is fit and available. I thought his signature was a great coup for you, even if he is a little injury prone. It would be typical Charlton luck that he'll save his best for our visit. You can't ignore your goal scoring pedigree, le Fondre, the Polish lad Pogrebnyak, and of course aided with the goals from Guthrie in midfield.

Big tough centre backs always stand out to me. I know you, like ourselves, have a solid lad named Morrison at the heart of the defence. He seems mature for his age, a future Royals captain?

Who should Reading fans be wary of on Tuesday?

Old players always come back and haunt don't they? Simon Church will either play out of his skin or have a stinker. I expect him to start up front with Yann Kermorgant although the Frenchman is still a little shy of full match sharpness.

In the middle of the park we have a youngster Jordan Cousins who seems to be the talk of the town at the moment. He is in the starting eleven on merit, don't let his youthful age deceive you. Another youngster is Cameron Stewart, on loan from Hull.  Again, full of promise, he has the knack for the spectacular and is guaranteed a couple of good efforts on goal from the edge of the box.

If you're lucky, Marvin Sordell will play. Believe me, you've nothing to worry about here.

Score prediction?

We went to QPR a week ago, played very well when they had an off day and still lost. Quality does shine through, we'll snatch a goal but your possession and ability on the ball will frustrate us and on a couple of occasions open us up. 2-1 to The Royals.

Thanks again to Al, and you can follow him on Twitter @algordon_cafc

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