Sunday, July 28, 2013

Inver respect of Paddy.

If I lived in the Highlands of bonnie Scotland I'd jump at the chance of spending a weekend away in the bright lights of London to watch my football club. About a hundred or so of the Inverness Caledonian Thistle faithful did just this and made the very long journey to South London as their club took up the invitation for a pre-season friendly which Charlton then doubled up as a testimonial match for former winger and Valley groundsman Colin Powell. It's a shame so few of the home 'faithful' did the same.

The club opened the East, Lower West and Lower North stands but in all honesty could have squeezed us all in just the one. Having looked at the club web site it appears nobody is actually keen to publish the exact attendance. Watch me get all political but I'd love to imagine the crowd would have been equally as low if we'd hosted Real Madrid at sixty quid a head.

The two teams gave Colin Powell a guard of honour, those present clapped and cheered gallantly, I know he is a player from a long time back now, and only the groundsman, but it was still pretty embarrassing. A little like our search for a striker.

Adamo Coulibaly has signed for Lens after looking rather impressive for us on his week's trial. Lens of course have that missing ingredient, the money to pay him, although I believe very early contract discussions broke down due to the hindrance of awkward communication with an agent. Next up on the trial stakes, Simon Church a striker released by Reading.

I firmly believed I'd see this Welsh striker for at least an hour yesterday, I never expected the lad to be missing completely. We lined up with that defensive old 4-5-1 formation which I fear we'll see home and away this season with unwelcome regularity. This didn't bode well for our pursuit to fill the vacant number nine and ten shirts with less than a week to go until the competition proper starts. Would there be a better opportunity for the gaffer to cast his eye over a potential signing? It hit me like a bullet at three o'clock Saturday that this really is it, we haven't as they say got a pot to urinate in.

Church did eventually appear today for a 'strong' Charlton XI at Ebbsfleet alongside another trialist, former Tranmere Rovers forward Adam McGurk. The Northern Irish front man had been on trial with Birmingham prior to this but they didn't see him as worthy of a contract. I very much doubt they'll be an announcement on either of these two from us either, Chris Powell has lost out on his targets through no fault of his own and it does appear like he's clutching at straws as we sieve through the dregs of what's left, no offense intented. I'm starting to feel a little jealous of the New York Red Bulls for their acquisition and celebration of Bradley Wright-Phillips now.

Yann Kermorgant may well feel the same. With every ball he won and every nod down he completed he looked more and more frustrated. Fitness and injury avoidance were obviously contributing factors but there was no-one to pick these balls up and take them goal-wards.

If this was Powell's preferred starting eleven (Saturday obviously, not today) for next week then there was little inspiration. Cort surprisingly wasn't at the back, Dervite and Morrison taking up the center berth. I was impressed how we switched from four at the back to just three as we ventured forward, it was almost seamless at times, but there were occasions when communication between keeper and defenders was minimal at best. Mark Gower sat in the heart of midfield with Jackson and Stephens, they were flanked by Pritchard and Harriott. The passing was neat but the lack of ideas was a worry. Yes it's still a friendly but Inverness are a good stern quality test, they certainly showed we still have some cracks which could prove costly, especially with this lack of firepower.

Nobody can question the passion, after giving a soft goal away we threw everything forward, Kermorgant especially, showing facial expressions of hurt and irritation. It's clear they don't like losing no matter how friendly the fixture. As a game though it was a non event, unfortunately similar as a showpiece to the recognition of the day.

On the plus side, it was great to take the London Bridge train from home full of expectation of a good day of football and beer once again. We had a few ales and VAT's post game and I can happily report all is looking good, my tolerance is of matchday requirement. I'm just about there and raring to go.

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