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Sordell’s Valley Stint Not Yet Scuppered

Take your mind back to August 1. All things Charlton were well; or at least what wasn’t well was temporarily forgotten.

A summer spent pondering the benefits of playing Leon Cort up front proved pointless as Chris Powell acquired two exciting attacking players on the same day.

The first of which was 24-year-old Welsh international Simon Church, who arrived on a free after leaving Reading. Not exactly prolific, not exactly rated highly by Royals fans and not exactly the cause of excitement amongst Charlton fans.

A solid acquisition in the circumstances, with just one senior striker at the club on the previous day, but the player signed alongside Church was the one that created optimism amongst the previously confused and worried Addicks.

England U21 international Marvin Sordell arrived on a season long loan from Bolton Wanderers. The forward was highly rated from his time with Watford, with Bolton playing £3million for his services, but apparent home sickness and a lack of playing time in Lancashire had stunted his growth as a footballer.

It was thought a move back down south, along with Powell’s stewardship and a greater chance of playing time at The Valley, was exactly what Sordell needed to recapture that form shown at Watford.

And that’s not to say his form had completely deserted him at Bolton, with an impressive display at The Valley for the Trotters, which included a goal, towards the end of last giving Charlton fans a glimpse of the calibre of player that was joining their club.

This was the man to replace the quality lost with Ricardo Fuller’s departure; some believed Sordell’s quality was superior to that of the Jamaican’s.

The only real concern was that Bolton had the option to recall their man midway through the loan deal. A prolific first half of the season from the 22-year-old and Powell could only watch as he was taken from his grasp.

Fast forward to midway through the season and it would appear Sordell is heading back to Bolton, but not in the circumstances expected.

One goal in 15 league appearances, just six of which were starts, and several substandard performances have left Charlton fans feeling incredibly disappointed by the signing that promised so much.

It would also seem that Sordell himself and Bolton manager Dougie Freedman are as equally disappointed by the success of the loan spell, with reports suggesting that Freedman would recall the frustrated striker should another club show interest in borrowing him.

Most Charlton fans won’t be too concerned by his imminent departure; quite a few are rather pleased that a player who has failed to win over the supporters is leaving the club. The lack of goals aside, his so called laziness, shown to the fore when he failed to leave the pitch quickly enough after being substituted in the 0-0 draw against Blackpool, has made him the target of heavy criticism.

Hopefully it will free up funds to sign a forward who will score the goals to move the Addicks away from danger. With Sport Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer rumoured to be joining the club, and his Twitter feed full of very easy to unravel cryptic hints, he may well be Sordell’s replacement.

But, even with a player who has impressed American audiences and has a rather good name potentially coming in, I don’t feel as relaxed about Sordell’s departure as many others do. In fact, I would go as far to say that I’m a bit gutted.

First of all, I’m probably as disappointed as Sordell and Powell that the move hasn’t worked out. This was supposed to be perfect for him, and his goals would be perfect for us.

I’d been warned by several fans who had seen him play regularly not to get too carried away, but most believed there was certainly a very good player hiding away inside the former Great Britain striker.

I genuinely believed having Powell to guide him, Yann Kermorgant up top with him and being back down south would lead to a 20 goal season for Sordell. He’d provide all the flair and ability of the departed Fuller, but with the added addition of goals on a consistent basis.

And, even with that disappointment, there have been several occasions when he’s impressed me. The sweetly taken goal and overall performance against Forest, the hard working display at Blackburn and the 20 minutes at Reading that left me frothing at the mouth for more.

The way he collected the ball into his feet with his back to goal and created attacking moves time and time again at the Madjeski was superb to see. He looked confident and, along with Danny Green, changed the course of the game, having a goal disallowed for offside and was involved in many of the moves that almost brought the Addicks an equaliser.

I called for him to start the games following the Reading defeat, and I’m incredibly frustrated that he hasn’t had the chance to build upon that performance, whereas Green has been given his ~325th chance to start in a Charlton shirt only to underwhelm once again.

I’ll always back Powell’s judgement over my own, he’s the man that sees the players every day in training, but I can’t help but feel Sordell has been treated a little unfairly with his lack of playing time.

The slow start, with two dire performances against Bournemouth and Middlesbrough, probably cost him, but he’s at least performed to an acceptable level in the other four league games he’s started and the appearances of more than five minutes he’s made off the bench.

And that’s the key issue here; I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of him. Five minutes here or there isn’t enough to judge a player. I would love for him to be given a run in the starting XI, to prove himself and to show the Reading performance wasn’t a fluke, because, like I had been told, there is certainly a player hiding away in there somewhere.

It’s certainly not a case of forgetting about him and hoping he leaves with Dwyer coming in and Michael Smith returning, because the Adidcks would still be light on both numbers and quality up top. With the lack of goals scored this season, the more strikers the merrier.

With Sordell still at the club for now and a number of fixtures over a short space of time during the Christmas period, the chances are he’ll get some amount of playing time in the coming weeks.

A goal or two could resurrect his Charlton career; something I desperately hope happens.

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