The Times They Are A Changing
Another big game on Saturday when promotion hopefuls Sheffield Wednesday pitch up at The Valley. Former Addick, Nicky Weaver, will be in goal for the Owls, having joined the team he supports in the summer. Charlton will hope to build on that thrilling win at Carlisle but may have to change one or two things to turn hope into reality.
Only Charlton can match the 12 goals Wednesday have scored on their travels, whereas only Tranmere, ensconsed in the bottom four, have scored fewer goals at home than the Owls. Alan Irvine, long time assistant to David Moyes at Everton, set up his Preston side to play a counter
attacking game and has continued with that ethos at Hillsborough.
There should be no surprises for Parkinson in how the visitors will approach the game but can he find a strategy to counter it?
The Charlton defence has come under scrutiny of recent times and Parkinson may well make changes for Saturday. Elliot has not been in good form but seems to have the manager's confidence. Most at risk could be Gary Doherty. The Doc has not been at his best recently and is not the quickest.
Jon Fortune, who was clearly unhappy at being 'bombed' at Carlisle is a more mobile option. Fortune has done little wrong since his return and was unlucky to be taken off against Brighton. He may well get his chance this week.
The central midfielders will have to be on their mettle too. Racon is frequently criticised but Semedo has not been great either. After the break, Carlisle played diagonal balls over the top for Ben Marshall to run on to and the tactic found Charlton wanting.
Semedo and Racon - or possibly McCormack - will need to stem the supply line. Parkinson may well decide the more competitive McCormack is the better option for this match. With players of the quality of James O'Connor, Tommy Miller, Gary Teale, Chris Sedgwick and former Liverpool youngster Darren Potter available, Irvine's side will be able to break with both phyical and mental speed.
Another ex-Liverpool player, Neil Mellor, is available as a target man with the likes of Clinton Morrison, Marcus Tudgay and Paul Heffernan, who gave the Addicks back-line a torrid time at Bristol Rovers in March, also in the squad, it's easy to see how dangerous Wednesday can be.
Charlton will have to rely largely on service from wide areas to create chances. Paul Benson has shown what he can do if he gets the right service and the pace and power of Joe Anyinsah will cause the ageing Darren Purse problems.
The defence and their midfield shield will need to get tighter to their opponents than they have recently. The marking at set pieces, particularly corners, needs to be worked on too. If they do their job properly, Wagstaff, Jackson and Francis on the overlap, could deliver enough bullets for Charlton to win.
Should his team fall behind, Parkinson could introduce the trickery of Martin and the physical presence of Abbott or Sodje as an alternative. It should be a fascinating contest.