Saturday, April 01, 2006

West Ham Preview

As far as the majority of neutrals are concerned, Charlton have had a relatively poor season, and West Ham have had an relatively successful season; yet if we were to beat them at Upton Park on Sunday, we would go level on points with the Hammers. Indeed, a win by three clear goals would see us leapfrog them in the Premiership table.

On paper, there is no reason why we shouldn't feel confident about a trip to East London. We have triumphed on each of our last three meetings with West Ham, and the spirit that the players have shown during their last 2 outings really seems to have rekindled the faith of the supporters. The feelgood factor which surrounds the club at the moment reminds me of the way we used to feel during our first couple of years as a Premiership club, and Curbishley has issued an appeal to the fans to once again turn up the volume at the Boleyn Ground this weekend.

The preview on the official site claims that Curbishley has a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time in months, so it will be interesting to see what he views as his strongest XI. There are also claims in the official preview that perhaps Bothroyd will claim a starting place ahead of Marcus Bent, although personally I would like to see us stick with the side that beat Newcastle last weekend. The only change I would welcome would be the possible inclusion of Rommedahl at the expense of either Hughes or Kishishev.
Matt Holland looks set to make his 100th appearance for the Addicks.

From West Ham's point of view, it looks like Hislop will continue to deputise in goal for the injured Roy Carroll, while the form of Ashton and Harewood look set to leave Zamora consigned to the bench again, where he will have the company of birthday boy Teddy Sheringham, and possibly former Charlton winger Shaun Newton.

Etherington will surely start for West Ham, and if both Thomas and Rommedahl start for us, then there will be three out and out wingers on the pitch which could result in a very open game. Hammers captain Nigel Reo-Coker is a player whom I would love to have in our side, and whoever the central midfielders are, they will have to stick close to him if the midfield battle is to be won.

I'm confident that 'Operation Riverside' will be a success on the 12th of next month, and if it is, West Ham will be all that stand between us and our first ever appearance in the UEFA Cup next season. This is the perfect chance for us to strike a psychological blow ahead of any potential semi final. As far as I am concerned, a draw this weekend would be a good result, but a first away win in 10 games is not out of the question.

Cynic Athletic's Prediction - 2-2 Draw (M.Bent, Thomas - Ashton, Harewood)


A crippling run of night shifts has seen me sleeping through all of the normal waking hours and working through all of the normal sleeping hours this week, so apologies to all for the lack of updates over the last few days.


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