Cottagers Confidential: Charlton are only one point above Bolton with a worse goal difference. Is there any hope you stay up this year?
Craig Sloman: It’s looking bleak isn’t it ? However there are two glimmers of hope; the manager (Jose Riga) performed a miracle when he came in with the side in a very similar position back in 2013/14. He saved the Addicks and was subsequently rewarded by not having his contract renewed that summer. Charlton then lurched from one manager to another (three in total) before Riga returned in January after the calamitous reign of Karel Fraeye (who, bizarrely, was Riga’s assistant in the first spell in 2013/14) ended with a 5-0 hammering away to Huddersfield. Addicks are praying that Riga can work his magic again and in his third game in charge, away to Rotherham we saw the second glimmer of hope with a truly excellent performance which resulted in a 4-1 win, if Charlton can replicate that form over the final stretch of the season we will survive.
CC: Did Charlton make any significant changes to the squad in the winter window that Fulham fans should be aware of before this match?
CS: January was an interesting month. As always seems the case, retaining certain players was as much a priority as recruiting, this time successfully keeping young starlet Ademola Lookman from the circling Premier League vultures. Additions to the squad ranged from the odd (Roger Johnson – who was given an 18 month contract after being released at the end of last season), the good (Jorge Tiexera from Standard Liege and former Juventus defender Marco Motta) to the disappointing (Diego Poyet, who really seems to have gone downhill based on performances since he returned on loan after leaving for West Ham 18 months ago). Defence seems to have been the priority with three defenders coming in and a quick look at the table will tell you why, Charlton have conceded more goals than anyone else in the division and this has left us with a horrendous goal difference – that investment will face a real test against Fulham who have recent history of large score lines against Charlton.
CC: If Charlton do go down, will they keep the squad together? Are there any players that Fulham should target?
CS: If Charlton go down all bets are off. The CEO recently boasted that the club now have more players under contract for decent lengths of time than for many a year so players wont be leaving on free transfers. The bigger question is whether or not we would want to keep most of this squad, which looks poorly built for the rigours of League One football (a recent memory for most Charlton fans). The only players I think a Championship team would be interested in would be goalkeeper Stephen Henderson, central midfielder Jordan Cousins (who is a doubt for the Fulham match) and Lookman.
CC: Predicted Lineup and Score?
Score – 2-2
Line Up (R-L)
Solly Tiexera Lennon Motta
Gudmundsson Cousins Ba Lookman