We go into this cup game with me very low on confidence of us causing an upset; when the game was drawn I was reasonably excited, not a “huge” game by any stretch of the imagination, but a chance to upset some struggling Premiership opponents – at the time, with a hapless manager in charge, and of course, a possible reunion with former Forest player Andy Reid – all in all, a no lose situation for us really.
Since then it’s transpired Reidy is injured thus won’t be playing, and Charlton of course have sacked hapless Reed and installed Alan Pardew as manager, since then we have gone on a dreadful run of league form – culminating in a 5-0 spanking at the hands of Oldham Athletic on new years day. It’s not exactly enough to fill you with confidence, now is it?
It’s not all going Charlton’s way though – they’re not allowed to field Scott Carson in goal, they have injuries to aforementioned Andy Reid, Marcus Bent and Hermann Hreidarsson, and Osei Sankofa is to serve a suspension – although if you cast your eye down their squadlist, it’s hard to imagine our plodding defenders getting much change from the likes of Hasselbaink, Marcus Bent or Rommedahl!
Forest have a few absentees as well; John Thompson is cup-tied, which is a bit of poor planning, Nicky Southall, Danny Cullip and Sammy Clingan are suspended and influential (well, when he feels like it) Kris Commons is still out with injury. Wes Morgan has recovered from illness in the nick of time, but it will certainly leave the Forest side looking somewhat unfamiliar, with a probable return for the maligned Julian Bennett either as part of a back three with Breckin and Morgan, or perhaps as a left back should we employ a back four (I wish!).
Charlton have a surprisingly good record against us; historically they would’ve been the least favoured team too more often than not - last time we met in 2000 Smoulderwood was sent off for two bookable offences, and none other than John Terry was a second half substitute for the mighty Reds; despite being down to ten men we equalised an earlier Charlton goal from the penalty spot – Accrington ‘super star’ Alan Rogers winning the penalty that Bart-Williams converted.
All in all, I’ve lost all hope of an us causing an upset in the light of recent performances – and to be honest, would question whether we really need the distraction of a cup run when our league form is a stutter. I foresee a comfortable win for Charlton, and just hope that the scoreline isn’t too embarrassing – because even though a full league separates us, I would still expect us to put up a good fight, but that could be an expectation too far.
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