A home has only just been found for the seemingly never ending Charlton ‘Champions’ memorabilia, the ink is still setting in the football history books after Spain’s record achievement and the nights are still long (if not exactly summery). But yet the 2012/13 season begins in earnest tomorrow with the annual pre-season curtain raiser between Welling United and Charlton Athletic at Park View Road. Despite the excitement this game brings to Charlton fans, it is after all a pre-season friendly and nothing more, so it’s impossible to write a normal preview. Instead, I’m going to look at some questions that might (or most certainly will) be answered come the end of the game.
Will Leon Clarke play any part?
Clarke, along with Mikel Alonso, was seen as one of the very few mistakes made by Chris Powell in the transfer market last season. It’s not come as a surprise that the overriding majority of Addicks’ fans want to see the back of the 27 year old striker. But with a bid turned down from Oldham in the week, is he still part of Powell’s plans? It may just be as simple as the bid didn’t meet Charlton’s valuation and his absence tomorrow would only strengthen that argument. However, if Clarke gets a run out ahead of the likes of Michael Smith, Paul Hayes and Jordan Cook, it might not be the last time he’s spotted in a Charlton shirt.
Will there be any trialists?
A question that will be answered before the game kicks off at 3PM tomorrow, but right now, it’s anyone’s guess. The first few pre-season fixtures are often used to give a few previously unmentioned trialists a run around, and casting eyes on a potential signing is always enjoyable, so I’m logically thinking and hoping that one or two feature tomorrow.
How close is Nick Pope to the first team?
With the young keeper rumoured to be highly thought of inside the club and John Sullivan looking shakey in his few appearances as understudy to Ben Hamer last season, an appearance for Pope against a non-league team would be welcome from a personal point of view. Realistically, it’s unlikely he’ll play tomorrow with Hamer and Sullivan probably having something to say about it if he does, but it’ll be nice to see him get a few games under his belt throughout the duration of the pre-season schedule.
Wilson and Cook, any good?
Charlton, after weeks of patient and not so patient waiting from the fans, finally announced their first signings earlier on this week, bringing in Lawrie Wilson from Stevenage and Jordan Cook from Sunderland. Although one game against a non-league team wont give much away, first impressions count and a promising display from the pair will up the damaged optimism among the Valley faithful.
Which youngsters are on the outskirts of the first team?
Much like Nick Pope, a better indication will be seen throughout the entire pre-season programme, but those who are closer to playing a part this season may make the bench tomorrow. The likes of Diego Poyet, Jordan Cousins and Tobi Sho-Silva are seen as the future of the club and will certainly be seen a number of times over the next month.
Is the new shirt nice?
Simple one this, I’m getting my Charlton shirt tomorrow. Will it match the wonderful Macron kit from the past two seasons. Time will only tell.