Chris Hughton looks ahead to the challenge of taking on Charlton at the Lane in the Barclays Premiership on Saturday...
Chris Hughton looks ahead to the challenge of taking on Charlton at the Lane in the Barclays Premiership on Saturday...Charlton haven't enjoyed a good start to the season and it is a surprise because they are a Club who, in recent seasons, have generally began a campaign well. They are usually in a good position at this point in a season and, as they have built up their squad over the years, the expectation levels have increased with each passing season.
There has been a change of manager already at the Vally this season, which is unusual, but the nature of football these days when few things surprise you. Everyone is fearful of not being in the Premiership and the league is very tight if you take out Manchester United and Chelsea. It is changing all the time and the saying that there are no easy games has never been more true.
I don't think Andy Reid will be set on proving a point, more happy to be playing regular football. When he went to Charlton he picked up an injury that set him back a few weeks but he is now playing regularly and in a position we know he can play - more centrally off the front.
He is a good player for that role if I look at the qualities he has. He is strong on the ball, has some pace and is a very sharp player who can certainly go past opponents. Andy also has an eye for a goal.
A combination of factors prevented Andy making more of an impact here - injuries and being at a club with a bigger squad and more choices. He found it difficult in coming from an environment at Nottingham Forest where he was playing week in, week out and he acquired a certain fitness from playing so many games.
It was then hard going from that to not featuring all the time. He is a very committed player, somebody who likes to train and train hard, which is a good thing. He is one who thinks about the game, a good professional who will be pleased to be playing more.
I think the system Charlton are using at the moment is one that Iain Dowie introduced in his last few weeks, playing Andy off the front with Darren Bent further on. It says a lot for the quality Bent has with him having scored the amount of goals he has given the fact that his team have struggled for good results. He is certainly one to watch and Andy, from a deeper position, will find the runs of Bent.
I would expect them to go in with two banks of four behind the front two. The regular players being Luke Young, who is back in at right back after injury and he is one who has put in a lot of good performances over the years and always looks forward to coming back to the Lane.
There have been a few changes in defence, Traore is back now and Hreidarsson usually plays at left back. Fortune at centre half has been in and out, while El Karkouri has played in most of the games. In the middle Matt Holland has featured with Rommedahl and Thomas options out wide - so they certainly have a strong squad to pick from.
It is about getting results for them now and they will come to the Lane on the back of their win over Blackburn. It is a London derby, the game will be tight, but we want to build on our victory over Middlesbrough with another three points. A home game presents a good opportunity to do that and if we can we will enter the Christmas period in a strong position.