View From The Home End at The Valley
By Paul Breen
Friday 06 Mar 2020 17:17:00
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Charlton fan and author Paul Breen might have once famously celebrated his love for Middlesbrough but there will be no love lost for him tomorrow at The Valley as Boro take on Charlton. We know all about how vital it is for our survival hopes but for The Addicks too they are pinning a lot on getting result in this game. That is why it is a 6 pointer and why we need to hear all about the view from the home end at The Valley...

Here is what Paul Breen makes of the big clash...

Charlton's season has been a strange tale of progress and decline on the field. Then decline and progress off the field. At the start of the season the club found itself back in the Championship despite continuing problems with ownership. At various times over the past few years we have felt a lot closer to Bury than @Boro. That is why our squad right now is down to the bare bones even though we have had the desired change of ownership mid-season. Although we are on the slide in the league table, we would be in a far worse position if it wasn’t for our manager and key players such as star strikers Lyle Taylor and Macaulay Bonne.

Lee Bowyer’s personal story is one of triumph and transformation. He has come a long way since his more notorious early days and proven himself to be an excellent manager. If he had the finances and the squad available to Jonathan Woodgate, there’s no doubt in our minds that we would be in contention for the play-offs. Unfortunately the reality is that we are in a relegation battle alongside a cluster of sides who see themselves as being too big to go down. For us, the Middlesbrough game is crucial. It is one of those must-win matches that will decide our season.

Expect then a strong fight from the team in red tomorrow because if the players don’t show that hunger we are in deep trouble. Although we have winnable games to come against Hull, QPR and even Wigan on the last day of the season, the psychological blow of falling into the relegation zone is something we might not recover from. Although we have been on the slide for a while we haven’t actually slipped into the bottom three. I’m not sure we have the physical or mental resource to get out if we drop in there.

That is why I don’t expect us to do so. I believe that come 5pm on Saturday we’ll have fought for at least a draw. Almost directly opposite to our time in the Premier League in the early 2000s, we now seem to end our seasons very well. We did that in a few previous relegation battles salvaging our status at the last minute and Bowyer’s men did it brilliantly last season when our late run of form earned us a League One play-off final victory over Sunderland.

Like Boro, we have a bit of a history with your neighbours. Twice now we have beaten them in play off finals so I imagine that they will be just as happy to bypass us in their promotion battle as they would be to see Middlesbrough get relegated. Personally I hope we both stay up and that Bowyer and Woodgate get to compete again in better conditions next season. By then we should have a few more players and a bit more money in the kitty. Of course all that could go up in smoke with a bad result in Saturday’s game.

Star players like Lyle Taylor and Jonny Williams won’t stick around for another season in League One if we go down. Some of our bright young talents too may get lured away to other clubs. Therefore we have a lot riding on this match. In our last few games we have produced a mixed bag of results – victories over Barnsley and Luton Town cancelled out by a late defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday and a horrible hammering in Huddersfield. Because that was our last match, I am expecting a bit of an angry bounce. We are due a bit of luck again. Here’s hoping it starts tomorrow even though I hope we both stay up, as I have said.

Paul Breen is on Twitter @CharltonMen

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