This weekend sees the debut in this season’s FA Cup for the 48 football league teams in the bottom two divisions as everyone enters with the aspiration of having a good cup run, to try and balance the books and the hopes of facing a premiership giant in the third round of the competition. After all they say that any publicilty is good publicity.
This game could be seen as a welcome distraction away from league football for struggling Barnet manager Mark Stimson and his tropps with Barnet rockbottom of the football league ladder. Despite a major summer overhaul of new recruits in the summer Barnet fans will see this season as yet another relegation dogfight with their league survival only being guranateed on the last day last season as Barnet beat promoted Rochdale while Grimsby lost which saw the Mariners relegated.
Barnet fans have also been vocal in the assesment of this match believing that Barnet’s performances have been so bad this season that even if Parkinson was to field a reserve team tomorrow afternoon it would still be more than enough to see Charlton progress to the second round.
In terms of team news for the Bees, they will be without former Addick striker Izale McLeod following recent surgery on a reoccurance of his knee injury, however youth graduate Grant Basey is expected to come up against many familiar faces after returning to the team for Barnet’s league defeat to Stevenage Borough on Tuesday. Veteran striker Steve Kabba has also overcome an ankle injury and is set to return to the side after missing the last six league games. However, Barnet will still have a large injury list with centre-halfs Darren Dennehy (foot) and Daniel Leach (ankle) joining Izale McLeod (knee), Danny Hart (hamstring) and Danny Kelly (ankle) on the sidelines. Young defender Reece Yorke has been loaned out to non-league side Wealdstone.
Charlton fans, however, see this game as an unwelcome distraction to their domestic season with Charlton winning their last three league fixtures, evaluating them amongst the promotion contenders following a mixed start to the season. Charlton will be hoping to avoid another embrassing defeat following their shock exit to non-league minnows Northwich Victoria in the first round last season with their attentions turned towards the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy cup run which will see them play away at Southend United on Tuesday.
In terms of team-news for the Addicks, they will once again be without Lee Martin, after the Ipswich Town striker was refused premission to play in the competition by manager Roy Keane as part of his loan agreement. However, fellow loanee and West Ham’s reserve defender Matt Fry has been allowed premission to play in tomorrow’s match at Barnet by manager Avram Grant. Charlton will also be without defender Kelly Youga due to a knee injury that will see him sidelined for the remainder of the season and fellow defender Chris Solly after he suffered an ankle injury in training on Sunday.
Charlton fans will need no reminding that they lost against Barnet in a pre-season friendly for the second consectuive time in July but Charlton have the upper-hand in the all important competitive fixtures with the Addicks dismissing Barnet from the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in a 4-1 win at the Valley last season.
Charlton fans will be hoping to avoid another cup upset, however at the same time trying to avoid a lengthy cup upset while Barnet will be hoping this match could turn around their dismissal form this season. However both sets of fans, players and coaches will want to win the match when the whistle blows at 3pm Saturday afternoon with the aim of the match to be in the hat for the second round draw and one step closer to hopefully coming up against premiership opposition.