Wednesday, 24 August 2011
A Rare Treat...
Chris Powell will be nursing a headache this morning, but one he will welcome with open arms. For those 6,000 hardy Addicks who ventured to the Valley last night - no doubt assuming they would be facing one of those painful and dire nights where you are left wondering why you bothered - a rare treat was in store. A glorious treat indeed! All of a sudden, Saturday's starting 11 is not quite so obvious. Powell's headache was created by an Addicks second 11 full of energy and desire and who thoroughly deserved victory against the Championship Royals. In fairness, the winning margin should have been more if Charlton got what they deserved in full.
Further more, and as bold a statement as it may seem (I deliberately wrote this the morning after, to ensure I still felt the same), I haven't seen Charlton play that well and with such passion for years. I loved every minute of it. Absolutely brilliant entertainment! Well done lads. The smiles around the Valley were great to see.
In reality, every player on the pitch had something to prove, whether, like Benson or Francis (who, in particular, played outstanding: his best game for the Addicks by a country mile) the future is a little uncertain or whether, like Pritchard, Izquierdo, Green and Mambo, their future is on the up and is firmly in their own hands. Hughes (who, in that central midfield role reminded me of Matty Holland), The Doc (who looked reassuringly steady) and Euell (who had the intelligence we have sometimes missed up top) complimented the young enthusiasm wonderfully well. Wagstaff's boundless energy as a sub was hugely impressive, and although he wouldn't thank me for saying it, may well be a great asset to us this season.
Jumping back to Francis in particular, surely he has given Powell the greatest food for thought? If a player must be worth a bit of extra effort from the coaching staff it must be this man. His height and strength are a real asset, as is his fitness. His consistency is the problem, we all know that, but I for one would love to see him given a second chance, and on the bases of last night, few who were at the Valley would argue. And what may well have been critical in his performance was that from the outset the Addickted were right behind him.
Furthermore, Pritchard looks a real effervescent talent. No nerves at all and full of thoughtful and intelligent passing, left and right. He was very unlucky not to get on the score sheet as well. My only concern about this lad would be his height, which, for a central midfielder is small.
This is one game, and so often we've faced false dawns. But dare I dream? Whatever team Powell is sending out is looking hungry and passionate to succeed, and the early season signs are positive.
If Charlton continue to take on the personality of their manager, then thank God for Chrissy Powell!!!