Battle of the Big Voices - Big Sam v Big Iain
Date: Friday 25th August 2006"Down in the valley, the valley so low. Hang your head over, hear the wind blow!" Just like in the old cowboy song, The Valley has been a happy hunting ground in the recent past for the Super Whites. It would be nice to use last season's end of term game as a benchmark for Saturday, but it is probably specualtive and maybe dangerous to do so. Saturday sees two of the loudest voices in football, in Ian Dowie and our own Big Sam, go head to head. Both are as blunt as a bag of hammers in their no-nonesense approach to the game. Dowie is the new kid on the block at The Valley, having just taken over the helm there. Players have gone, new ones have arrived. Djimi Traore is back from redcardland after his disatrous start for the Addicks, and Jeffers has moved on. Bent and Holland are expected to figure, although not the Costa Rican signing Bolanos who awaits a work permit. On the Whites scene, will Fortune be fit enough to play or will it be the 'dance of the peacocks' with Peds again at left back? Only Sam knows right now, although with the Anelka worry now cleared, his mind will be fully back on the job. Will Le Sulk figure at some point and who will miss out? Will the arrival of the Frenchman have an effect on others wanting to keep places, and will Faye compete with him in the sulk stakes after his blasting from the gaffer last week? What formation will Sam adopt? We have the striker, but will we go all out for goals? Charlton has to be seen as a 'must win' opportunity and seven points from three games, particularly if our defence is firing on all cylinders and we don't concede, appears realistically a possibility. Vaz Te may still have the memory of his goal against the Addicks in mind and want more. Big Kev will no doubt be taking a look at how the expensive new arrival affects him and it may inspire him to get that cutting edge in front of goal that has been the one element missing in a great player. Will Mister Diuof decide it's an occasion for a master class, and what of Stelios? All these questions suddenly have a buzz about them that may transmit to the the team as a whole. If Fortune is fit, we may start off unchanged. In my own opinion we could well hit a high and get those critical start of season points in the bag. I'll be optimistic and go for another 4-1. Match of the Day may well be centred on the touchline. Big Sam and Dowie are not renowned for tact or finnesse. Come on Whites, let's get that winning momentum going.