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View From The Town End: Charlton Athletic

So after what's felt like a six-month long International break, it's back to the Championship with the visit of Charlton. Can the Addicks make it a miserable return to action for Steve Clarke?

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Al Gordon from God, Charlton & Punk Rock once again kindly shared his thoughts from a Charlton perspective on tomorrow's game with Reading at the Madejski.

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

Off the pitch I think this is going to be a very important season. The owner, Roland Duchâtelet, sold Standard Liege during the summer and I believe we may see more fruit from this sale than we did from the link. Charlton's squad was full of substandard Liege benchwarmers that quite frankly weren't good enough for the Championship. Out of the seven new signings for this season, only one, Simon Makienok, is on loan. The other six have signed permanent deals and presumably will give the club a better service over a longer more settled period.

Alongside this is the fact that although Duchâtelet still reigns over a European football network, we have become the biggest fish in his pond and thus hopefully more of an interest to him than we have been so far whilst in his control.
I've no idea what price he received for the Belgian top flight side, but it would appear Charlton are already well over budget on their wage bill and this is a squad thin on Championship quality, as is being proved with the current injury situation. Two months in and we are already relying on youngsters to step up to the breach. He really may need to open the purse strings in January if we're to mount any type of play off challenge. Or even just to keep alive Championship football hopes for next season.

You had eight more points at this stage of the campaign last season, is the team moving backwards or does the table not tell the full story?

After starting the season in a manner none of us truly expected with home wins over both QPR and Hull, it's starting to feel like the wheels are beginning to fall off. Only a last gasp comeback against Fulham before the international break stopped us losing five consecutive league and cup matches. That said, I think the majority of supporters believe we are occupying the area of the table we expected. The first couple of weeks were just to tease us!

As I said, we've been hit by injuries, especially up front, but Guy Luzon lost some respect from fans when we faced bitter rivals Crystal Palace in the League cup. Resting two or three of our best players for a game fans described as the most important of the past couple of years showed little knowledge of local emotion, but if we finish fifteenth rather than sixteenth come May supporters will no doubt remember such tactics and thank him.

Any fond memories of games between the two sides?

My best memory of Reading always used to be the wonderful Elm Park, but nowadays this fixture always stands out as an opportunity for the Simon Church fan club to congregate and swap stories. I don't know about you but I think his move to the franchise is a marriage made in heaven.

Any not so fond ones?

I'm not a huge fan of modern stadiums, especially those that are out of town, so the journey from the train station using buses puts a slight downer on the experience for me. Last season's 1-0 win at your place was an exception to the rule, our first win on your patch since 1981, so pick any previous visit over those thirty odd years!

Who should Reading fans be wary of on Saturday?

Johnnie Jackson. Just back from injury, many thought the skipper was well past his prime but as a late substitute against Fulham a couple of weeks ago he came on and scored seconds later from a corner. This instilled passion and desire into the whole side and we came back from nowhere to rescue a point. He may not physically be your biggest threat, but with youngsters on the pitch needing a leader, he could be mentally.

Patrick Bauer and Alou Diarra have started very well together at the heart of the defence and on their day will be hard for you to break down although if you do get past them young goalkeeper Nick Pope has the odd blunder in his repertoire alongside the show stopping saves.

Which Reading players are you concerned with?

Guy Luzon has been full of praise for Reading this week stating his belief that you are one of the hardest tests we'll face all season. Nick Blackman is obviously on fire at the moment and probably cursed the international break last weekend. Alongside Orlando Sa you've a great partnership there, and backed up by Robson-Kanu and it's an attacking line up every club in this League would be jealous of.

I'm also a big fan of full back Jordan Obita. I think that how well he deals with Icelandic international Johann Berg Gudmundsson down our right hand flank could be the deciding factor on what Charlton manage to get out of the match.

Score prediction?

You're in a great vein of form, while we (apart from the final fifteen minutes against Fulham) seem to have hit self-destruct. Are those fifteen minutes the turning point for us? I doubt it. 3-0 Reading.
Luzon out!

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