Dedicated Darren Departs

What an excellent signing Darren Pratley was. I guess like many others when we signed him from Bolton 3 years ago, I was underwhelmed but how he proved us doubters wrong.

Fans love players who give everything on the pitch and that was Darren. Super fit and strong, He is a born leader never shirking a challenge and contributing as much as could all over the pitch including the great equaliser against Donny.

His performance this season away at MK Dons where he completely marked Scott Fraser out of the game in a textbook example of how to man mark was a standout performance. Even when we were forced to ask him to play out of position as a makeshift centre half, he stepped up and played well.

Fans are a fickle bunch and football is full of different opinions, but for me he was rightly selected as the heart of the team.

I enjoyed watching Darren, he’s a proper footballer

Thanks and good luck for the future

Unlucky Charlton

Maybe we really do have a Gypsy’s curse as legend has it. Last season we end up getting relegated in the 94th minute of the last game of the season by an offside Barnsley goal and this season we miss out on the play offs on goal difference only. Lets not even get into Ronnie’s penalty miss at Oxford, Jayden’s penalty miss at home to Peterborough and Crewe’s 95th minute equaliser 2 weeks ago. Anyway, that’s it – roll on next season. There is a huge team rebuild required. Adkins has made it clear that the average age of the team has to come down. We can only hope that Thomas is prepared to fund an assault on the division next year and it wont be as easy next year with 3 decent teams being relegated from the Champ and Bolton coming up from Div 4.

We clearly need more energy in the middle of the pitch and some goals. The spine of the team is always the most important and with Amos, a fit Inniss and hopefully Stockley signed on a perm we have 3 parts but we lack the Josh Cullen/ Scott Parker/Mark Kinsella central pivot. Maybe its harsh but I don’t rate Shinnie or Gilbey and Morgan is still too inconsistent. JFC is an excellent squad player but who knows how long it will take him to recover from his 2nd bad ACL injury. In addition to a 20 goal central striker ( hopefully Stockley) and a heartbeat central midfielder we also need someone creative in the midfield who can score 10 goals.

It’s a very big summer and we are full of expectation. When he has had some support, Steve Gallen has certainly unearthed some gems before like Bielik, Cullen, Gallagher, DaSilva, Famewo, Inniss, Millar and Maatsen and he is very much in credit on player recruitment. I suspect its unlikely but in addition to Stockley, I would try and get all of the loanees Maatsen, Famewo and Millar back.

Goal Difference Brownie !

I spent the last 20 minutes of the game last minute screaming at my PC for us to get forward and carry on attacking. There was a point at 3-0 where the momentum was with us and we could easily have got a couple more but players like Watson decided to slow it down. Brownie in commentary seemed completely supportive of this approach and unaware that we still had a 3 goal deficit on Oxford who arguably have the easiest game on Saturday with Burton at home. Apparently, its only Pompey that we are worried about. Had anyone on the commentary team or indeed our midfield looked at the League Table !

442 would always be my preferred system. Apparently Nigel is a tactical genius because we put two up front in the 2nd half. I suspect every Valley Pass subscriber spent the first half shouting for a 2nd striker to stand closer to Stockley. Its completely pointless hoofing long balls up to him so he can win it ( which he does very well) and flick it on to noone. We are playing in the THIRD division, we should be winning more games at home by being more aggressive and attacking not playing with a lone striker.

Apparently Washington and Aneke both have coninuing fitness problems but still get to sit on the bench – its all very frustrating.

Anyway, at least we won and for a spell in the 2nd half we played some decent football for a change. Football produces some strange twists of fate so we can only hope that Accrington and Burton do us a favour on Saturday.

A Poor Charlton Team

I don’t think you can question the commitment of the players this season either under Bow or Adkins. They all try their hardest and put their bodies on the line, the problem is a lack of ability. In the 55 years I have been supporting this team is in the Top 10 of the worst I have seen.

I feel for Thomas and Adkins because they have inherited a very average set of players. I think it says it all that JFC has been our best player this season unyet even if he had been fit, he would have struggled to get in the team that got promoted 2 years ago with a midfield of Bielik, Cullen, Aribo and Fosu ( and Lapslie – selling him was a mistake)

Being outplayed by Accrington both at home and away surely tells you all you need to know !

The game today was a terrible advert for professional football, they could have renamed the sport , headball.

Regardless of our last 2 games, Oxford will surely beat Burton at home which would make their total unachievable with their superior goal difference. Sounds a bit silly but I will be glad when the season is over so that Thomas, Nigel and Steve Gallen can get a better more competitive team ready for next year.

With the honorable exception of JFC, our midfield is dreadful, lacking in creativity, pace and energy which makes us uncompetitive even at this low level.

Let us hope Thomas is prepared to fund a host of new arrivals, otherwise we are going to be stuck in this horrendous division for quite a while longer.