Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Royal feast

Tonight Charlton entertain Reading in the rearranged Carling Cup fixture at The Valley.  Heavy morning rain should have cleared by this evening.

The bookies don't seem to rate the Royals' chances that highly with 7/4 for a Charlton win, 6/4 for Reading and 23/10 for a draw at the end of play.

Reading are currently 13th in the Championship after a mixed start to the season as they seek to put their play-off final defeat behind them.  On Saturday they went down 1-2 at home to mighty Barnsley with the Tykes keeper making two penalty saves, although Reading scored one of their three opportunities.

Over the summer defender Matt Mills joined Leicester and striker Shane Long, who netted 25 last season, also departed for the Baggies.  However, the second leading scorer was left back Ian Harte who is a dead ball specialist and needs to be watched carefully tonight, although he was responsible for one of the penalty misses on Saturday.

Powerhouse midfielder Mikele Leighterwood was signed up fron QPR after impressing on loan and is regarded as a key player who has added steel to the side.  

Sir John Madjeski is still trying to sell the club which is a promising prospect, but according to the owner you would have to be a billionaire to afford it and no one has stepped forward yet.

One view of cup games is that we should concentrate on the league and that a cup run only saps strength and invites injuries.    The alternative view is that it can boost morale as well as bringing in some extra cash.

I would expect Chris Powell to put out a full strength side tonight, but perhaps to use the opportunity to try out a few changes.   I would start with Green instead of Wagstaff.

It's a difficult one to call, but Charlton could just edge it.   If it goes to penalties, you wouldn't rely on Reading finding the back of the net.

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