The Opposition: Charlton Athletic

Last updated : 22 December 2007 By Danny Smith

Not too sure what our gameplan will be. Much will depend on whether our target man Iwelumo recovers from last week's injury. If so, expect us to play 4-5-1 and go pretty direct if our opening pretty play doesn't get anywhere. If he doesn't make it, we're likely to go 4-4-2 with McLeod and Varney up front. Our home form has been patchy to say the least, and if we start badly, don't expect the crowd to be too patient.

Our strength is collectively we have a pretty high standard as a 'squad', with plenty of Premiership experience scattered around. Our first 11 is probably not the best in the division, but we have decent depth. We also have an abundance of options in midfield, particularly in the centre.

Our defence hasn't been tight all season, no matter what combination we play there. Have struggled particularly against aerial balls, though that has improved since Sodje has come in on loan. Up front, we've become a bit predictable with Iwelumo, and we're really lacking a natural, instinctive scorer. Varney and McLeod are yet to show us what they can really do.

Injuries & supspensions
We have Mills and Sam returning from suspension, with Fortune still serving a ban. Injuries are really kicking in for us at the moment, particularly in defence with all four left backs injured. Powell should hopefully be well enough to soldier on. Andy Reid is out injured for us, which will be a big loss as all our play goes through him. Will be interesting to see how the team react without him. Up top, Todorov is out all season and is a massive blow as he really gave us a different, intelligent option up there, while the target man Iwelumo is a big doubt.

Likely Team (if Iwelumo plays)
1. Nicky Weaver - An ex-hate figure with City, but turning into a bit of a favourite. Not world class, but certainly equal to anyone in this league.

44. Danny Mills - The man that loves being hated ! Has been a revelation with us, and really seems to be enjoying his football / beating people up again.
21. Madjid Bougherra - Outstanding with Sheff Wed, we haven't really seen it yet but he has a chance for a run in the side now and it will be a big bonus if he starts delivering.
4. Sam Sodje - On loan from Reading, has helped shore up the defence but was a noticeable weak spot in the defeat to West Brom last week.
15. Chris Powell - Valley legend, about 60 years old but still gives his all. Due to the left back shortage, he's been playing when not really fit and suffering a bit in the process, but he could score six own goals and we would still sing his name !

18. Lloyd Sam - Been a pro for about five years, yet this is the first season he is seeing regular action with us. Improving. Went berserk when some Hull City chav pinched his bum earlier in the season!
8. Matt Holland - Solid old pro, keeps the team ticking over without excelling. Model pro, if he kicks you, expect a bunch of flowers and a letter of apology in the post.
5. Zhi Zheng - Chinese superstar, bigger than Beckham but sadly not better. Decent technical ability though, and probably better suited to the Prem. If we get promoted, you know where our next shirt sponsors will come from.
11. Darren Ambrose - The proverbial 'he promised so much'. Hasn't done it with us, until a couple of weeks ago when he went more central and looked a different player, although it was against his former club so wouldn't read to much into that.
14. Jerome Thomas - Great ability, sometimes poor attitude. Could really be abusing this league if he wanted to.

16. Chris Iwelumo - Great big giant. He isn't the most naturally gifted of strikers and won't get you 30 goals a season, but he will work his backside off. Love his attitude.

Click here for full squad list

Courtesy of Danny Smith from the Charlton Life website