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Charlton preview

Posted on 17 March 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Charlton have developed a taste for London derbies over the course of this campaign so far.

While many managers hint that the sheer amount of these games hampers a Capital challenge for the main prize, for Alan Curbishley they are a rich source of points.

Unbeaten in a local spat this season, Charlton have enjoyed some more than notable successes. Twice they have overcome Chelsea, Arsenal were humbled 4-2 at Highbury and our good run of form did not extend to our trip to the Valley in December.

Curbishley is even looking ahead to Millwall possibly adding to the short journeys next season.

"People talk about how well we've done in the local derbies this year and let's hope it continues," said Curbishley. "I think that, looking at the Leagues tables now, what if Millwall come up next season. People complain now about the derbies in the Premiership, if they come up it'll be another one.

"I like local derbies because there's no travelling and your fans can get there. If we get beat perhaps the pressure is off us somewhat - we are playing against big, big clubs. If we win it is a major achievement in some people's eyes - we'll have to wait and see if we can go and get a result against Spurs."

Our defeat at Chelsea last time out handed eighth place to Charlton and both teams are level on points. A win would give either side the chance to put serious pressure on Aston Villa in seventh and seek a strong finish to the season.

"Spurs getting beat at Chelsea enabled us to move up a place and only if West Ham beat Manchester United would we have been overtaken," added Curbishley. "It is a great situation to be in, but can we take advantage of it again?

"I've challenged the players to get anywhere near what we did last year, and if we do that it will be aqn achievement considering the problems we've had. It's game on for them at the moment. We're probably four points off where we were last year - can we get anywhere near that 52?"

Curbishley is not convinced that, despite popular belief, this is the best time to be facing Spurs.

"I don't know if that's the case. They've had two heavy defeats to Chelsea, but this is a local derby. I think every footballer goes into most games and tends to forget what's happened in previous games.

"We know that Spurs will need to beat us on Monday to have any realistic chance of getting in that top six or seven because the gap is getting big between them and Chelsea. The same for us, we went above Spurs because of the Chelsea result and if we've got any ambition we've got to win it as well.

"Makes for an interesting game, plus the fact that it is a derby."

The Valley boss is further boosted by the fact that after a season of injury struggles, his reserve side currently resembles a first team line-up as players return to form and fitness.

Although still without Mark Fish, Claus Jensen and Martin Pringle, Curbishley was at the Valley on Thursday to see the likes of Richard Rufus, Mark Kinsella, Jonatan Johannson, John Robinson and Radostin Kishishev in action - a real fillip for his squad as they enter the final furlongs of the season.

Charlton will arrive at the Lane chasing a double over Spurs for the season. The boys will be out to ensure that their taste for derbies goes a little sour come about 10pm.