It’s a change of pace this weekend as Plymouth Argyle prepare to take on Charlton in the FA Cup. We spoke to Charlton fan and CharltonLife writer Karl, who can himself be found on Twitter, for an opposition insight.
First of all, how did you get into supporting Charlton?
I’ve been a Charlton supporter all my life, it’s my local club and I grew up on the days of Premier League football. Charlton has been through previous generations and it’s important to my family.
Are there any Charlton players we should be looking out for on Saturday?
We’re likely to make a number of changes to the players we have been using in the league. Marcus Maddison is yet to make his first start but should at the weekend. He has had an ankle injury and didn’t have a pre-season, so it’s been a slow start to the season for him.
What went wrong last season to see Charlton relegated from the Championship?
After a dream start, we had an injury crisis that we’ve never seen before. At one stage we had around 14 players out. We then lost the integral Conor Gallagher and Jonathan Leko, had a mess of a takeover and transfer embargo, all followed by players refusing to play in the restart. To go down on the last day was heartbreaking, but to have left it until that point with everything that happened, was also a huge achievement.
Comparatively, your start to this season has looked particularly strong. What have you made of it?
We’ve signed a whole new team and since the latest takeover, everyone at the club is happy and can concentrate on the football. The new team has gelled very quickly and showing great character. We’ve won 6 in a row and went over 9 hours without conceding. It’s looking very promising, but it’s important to remember it’s only a start.
And what would you say your ambitions are for the rest of the campaign?
Top 6 is a very realistic ambition. The quality we’ve brought in means we now have two players for each position, many who should be playing a level above. If they really click as a team, we’ll be capable of going on a run that means automatic promotion is a possibility, but top 6 has to be the main aim right now.
What sort of tactical style do you expect to set up with on Saturday?
Bowyer has regularly played a mixture of formations this season. He likes two up front as much as he can, but we’ve also seen 4-3-3 used too. We’re a side who can dominate possession, but usually find that we’re a better team when organised and hit opponents on the counter, as well as being strong at set-pieces. Having the best goals against in the league shows that I think.
Do you think we’ll see a slightly weakened Charlton team for a cup game?
100%. Bowyer has already said that Saturday-Tuesday takes its toll and is very hard to do. We have players on international duty next week so most will get a rest, but the league is very much top priority this season. Some first team players will be involved, but the rest made up of players from the academy.
And are there any real weak links in your cup side that you’re worried about?
Depending on who’s playing, a lack of genuine pace could be a weak link. We’re a strong side but could come unstuck a little when faced against quick players. I can’t fault the quality of the squad though, it’s very balanced this season.
What first comes to mind when you think of Plymouth Argyle?
Home Park, tough place to go. Long trip down south. Play in green. Good club.
Which Argyle player, if any, would you like to sign?
Luke Jephcott looks a prospect. 5 goals in the league so far for a newly promoted side at the age of 20 is impressive.
And finally, what is your prediction for the game itself?
Charlton will put out a much-weakened side, concentrating on the league. With fixture pile up from internationals causing postponements, I wouldn’t be disappointed if we were to be knocked out. With some certain players needing minutes, it’s a tough one to call. Plymouth are in good form themselves, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Plymouth actually nicked the win by a single goal. Tight game, but 2-1 to Plymouth.