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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big Match Preview

Colchester United vs. Charlton Athletic
Saturday January 1, 15:00, Weston Homes Community Stadium

It's a return to his former club on New Year's Day for Charlton Athletic boss Phil Parkinson as he takes his top six side to Essex to face Colchester United - another side in the play off reckoning.

The hosts sit 7th in the division with their opponents in 3rd after the midweek games. Which, when added to Parkinson's return, promises a spicy encounter to kick off
2011 with.

Like many sides, United have been frustrated over the festive season due to the wintry weather - seeing their last three games postponed.

All of which means that Saturday's match will be the first time that the U's are in action since a 0-0 draw at home to Yeovil on December 11.

That's one of five games Colchester have drawn on their own patch this term, with Brentford and Huddersfield leaving with maximum spoils from a trip to the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

However, four wins have also been garnered, with Notts County, Leyton Orient, Tranmere, and away-day specialists Hartlepool all being seen off.

Top scorer for the U's this term is on-loan Reading forward David Mooney, whose nine strikes have proved invaluable. Andy Bond, a signing from Non League football over the summer, has also chipped in with six.

The presence of strikers Kayode Odejayi and Darius Henderson also ensure Ward's side can cause opposition defences problems in the air - with visiting sides needing to stand up to the duo's physicality.

Experienced Colchester boss John Ward has his side competing for a top six spot

Visitors Charlton enter tomorrow's match off the back of Wednesday evening's 1-1 draw against leaders Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Addicks experienced a slow start to the campaign, but have picked up over the last couple of months - although they recently suffered a shock home defeat to bottom placed Walsall.

On the road, Phil Parkinson's team have had a mixed bag of results. With wins being achieved at Leyton Orient, Swindon, Carlisle, and a remarkable 5-1 victory at Peterborough.

Draws at Plymouth and Tranmere have also been joined by defeats away to Exeter, Huddersfield, and Brentford.

Johnnie Jackson, a summer capture from Notts County, has been a leading light in the Athletic team this term, with ten goals from midfield already.

Scott Wagstaff and experienced lower league striker Paul Benson have both contributed with seven - part of the reason why Charlton have scored more goals away from home than anyone else in League One.

This is a difficult match to call, not least because of the interruptions to both teams' schedules because of the weather.

For that reason, I'll play it safe and go for a draw between two decent teams in a match both sides are more than capable of winning or losing.

Nobes' Prediction: Colchester United 2 Charlton Athletic 2

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