Date: 13th January 2006 at 2:52pm
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Steve Bruce had the luxury of announcing who was missing rather than who was fit as he announced his squad to travel to the Valley for Saturday?s encounter with Charlton. A well as Chris Sutton who will be making his debut Blues welcome back , Mario Melchiot, Mikeal Forssell, David Dunn, Matthew Upson, and Oliver Tebily to contest places in a match which signals a severe test of Blues chances of avoiding the drop. The value of that little group far out ways the money so far spent by Portsmouth in their relegation dogfight. New players however give a club momentum whereas old players coming back are under pressure to perform and stay fit. Blues injury crisis will be close to ending if they can get all those players back on the field Tuesday night. Bruce may not want to risk them against what should be lesser opposition but an unchanged side would do wonders for the team?s and the fan?s moral. A weakened Blues? side showed at Plainmoor that they couldn?t be trusted to deal with even League II opposition.

Walter Pandiani has returned to Spain where a deal with Espanyol is expected to go through today. Walter started well and scored against the quality teams but against lesser teams made little impact. That was true when last season finished so why Blues tried so hard to buy him was a mystery. The selling price of about £1m is about what Blues should have paid rather than the reported £3 million that Coruna demanded. It represented a pretty poor piece of business all round.

The three previous Valley fixtures have nice symmetry. A win, a draw and a loss. The first game was the turning point in our first Premiership season as Geoff Horsfield and Christophe Dugarry terrorised the Charlton defence. Blues ran out 2-0 winners with goal from the Frenchman and a penalty from Savage. A penalty in our favour tomorrow would be the first of the season. It?s a statistic that every Premiership ref should be ashamed of.

A draw in season two which should have been a win was followed last year by a horror show and a convincing defeat.

Blues have sold out their allocation of seats, which is a telling statistic and the side can consider themselves fortunate to have such dedicated support. Speaking on local Radio this morning Stan Lazaridis said ?this is a game we (Blues) feel we can win?.

Charlton have won only 1 of their last nine league games but while Blues were giving their fans a coronary at Torquay, the Addicks rebuilding their confidence with a 4-2 win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Vitalfootball prediction? 2-1 to Blues