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Preview: Forest V Charlton

We spoke to Kyle Andrews about what we can expect from the mysterious entity that is Charlton Athletic on Tuesday. We also rekindled our love for Andy Reid.

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Your boys are quietly enjoying a decent start to the season aren't they? How's that come about then?

KA: The bookies, in their infinite wisdom, decided that we were one of the favourites for relegation prior to the season getting underway, but optimism and expectation has been building among Charlton fans throughout the summer.

While the departure of Joe Gomez was disappointing, and the failure to capture Frederic Bulot permanently a frustration, the rest of the pre-season business appeared to be promising. Players with decent backgrounds signed, the core of a side that impressed last season kept, and Jordan Cousins and Johann Berg Gudmundsson speaking of the club showing signs of ambition when signing new contracts.

However, there was some apprehension. Under Roland Duchatelet's ownership, we have almost exclusively signed players from Europe with seemingly decent records. Some have adapted to the English game, but more have not. With that in mind, it was hard to get too carried away ahead of the season.

And, especially with many of the new signings made in the final few weeks of pre-season, there was a feeling that, irrespective of how impressive this side could ultimately be, there would be a slow start to the campaign. Players of different nationalities and personalities needing to get to know each other and adapt to Guy Luzon's system.

So to have four points from the first two league games, against strong opposition, is a start as promising as it is surprising.

Primarily, it has been built upon an organised effort in midfield and at the back. The moment we lose the ball, two banks of four appear, with only the player pressing the ball breaking out of it, while our back four has been extremely impressive.

But so too is the constant pace and dynamic threat on the counter important, as it was to us at the back end of last season. Even against Derby County on Saturday, a game which they completely dominated, we created a decent amount of chances because of the individual quality we have going forward.

Apart from the legendary Johnnie Jackson, a quick look at the names in your squad succeeds only in eliciting a quizzically raised eyebrow. Who should we be wary of?

KA: Our biggest threat is one of the names you've probably heard of. Tony Watt can change games on his own, and he's done that twice this season.

As I've explained above, we are certainly not a one-man team. The system Luzon plays would not work without resolve at the back and organisation throughout the side, but we are much, much weaker without Watt leading the line.

In the first 45 minutes of the season against QPR, which Watt watched from the bench, we looked a little flat: players too static, little adventure in the attacking play, and confidence lacking.

But when Watt was introduced at half-time, the whole pattern of the game changed. The Scot himself rampant, scoring the goal that changed the game, but his mere presence allowed the Addicks to take the game to the R's and ultimately dominate. With his direct running constantly forcing the opposition back, the entire Charlton side can afford to press higher up the pitch.

And his goal, coming completely against the run of play, and overall performance against the Rams this weekend was trademark. A fortunate deflection took the strike goalwards, but his drive and confidence created the goal, while his continuous running left him looking as shattered as me after a light, five-minute jog by the time full-time arrived. He always gives his all, and a bit more.

Here he is scoring that goal against Derby. You're welcome:

What's the view on Forest from a Charlton perspective? Hate us? Tolerate us? Laugh uncontrollably at us?

KA: Personally, I'm pretty fond of Forest. There are sleeping giants in this division whose arrogance makes them unlikeable, but I don't think that's the case with your lot. Maybe it's the constant flirtation with the idea of being half decent before slipping away in dramatic fashion that has created what seems to be a greater sense of realism among your supporters and the club in general.

Also, any club who has Andy Reid on their books, even a crocked one, becomes instantly more likeable. He may have only played for us a season and a half, ironically spending much of that time injured, but his performances and general demeanour made him a favourite of mine and many Addicks. He'd play the role of super cool uncle superbly.

I think that, even at his age, your chances of being competitive this season would increase dramatically if you could keep him fit. A little bit of quality to add to a decent enough, if not truly great, side.

An Andy Reid love-in…now that’s something that doesn’t happen enough in Football. Here he is curling in a beauty against, er, Charlton.

And here he is performing 'Lawless' by Christy Moore on the acoustic guitar:

In terms of the ownership and running of the club these days, what are the fans' feelings regarding this? There was much concern and apprehension when Roland Duchatelet came in. Is that still the case or is the club on the right track to sustainable improvement?

KA: Like many Charlton supporters, I have in the past been left disillusioned by Duchatelet's decision making and running of the club. Each manager or head coach sacked speaking of unfair treatment and interference with team selection, including the woefully dealt with Chris Powell, players of dreadful quality brought into the club and cult heroes going the other way, and the general ethos of the club seemingly damaged by using it as part of his money-making network experiment.

There were times last season when supporting the club was a very difficult challenge. A 5-0 defeat at Watford, where calls for Duchatelet to go were made by the vast majority in the away end, and a 3-2 defeat at home to Norwich where a poisonous atmosphere was created by the smallest Valley crowd I've seen away from cup ties.

But even I, a strong critic and someone who has been dealt emotional blows by his ownership, can see this summer could potentially be something of a turning point. The selling of Standard Liege seems to have changed Duchatelet's ambitions for Charlton.

Of course, it could still go horribly wrong. The players signed at the start of last season impressed, before faltering, and that may repeat itself. You would also like to see more players signed from within the English game to avoid constant gambles being taken on players from Europe with potentially high resale value.

But you cannot fault the ambition shown this summer, nor do I disagree that, comparatively with other clubs, we've moved into a relatively healthy position after several years of chaos.

Give us a reason why Charlton will win

KA: We're full of confidence, and our first two league games of the season suggest this side can collect points in a variety of ways - QPR dominated, and Derby resolutely held off.

Give us a reason why Charlton will lose

KA: Towards the end of Saturday's game, a few of our key players were running on empty. We've got a small squad, and those in reserve in some areas are not half the players of those they could possibly be replacing. Midfield options plentiful, but little quality back-up elsewhere. Whether it's a tired or slightly rotated side, it's one that a Forest side that has just gained its first win of the season could possible take advantage of.

Oh, and capitulating after a resolute effort a few days earlier would be the most Charlton thing of all time.

Could go either way then.

Huge thanks to Kyle who is a regular contributor to Voice of The Valley and London 24, while his work has also featured on Charlton’s official site and a number of other online sources.