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Charlton Athletic are edging closer to Championship survival under new boss Jose Riga following the takeover of the club
With Watford’s faint play-off hopes finally extinguished for the season, Beppe Sannino’s Hornets travel to South London for their game in hand with Charlton Athletic this evening.
The original fixture had been scheduled for March 9, but the Addicks’ FA Cup progress meant the fixture was re-arranged.
Much has changed since then, with former Watford defender Chris Powell dismissed from his role as manager just two days after Charlton were beaten 2-0 by Sheffield United in their FA Cup quarter-final tie.
Former Standard Liege boss Jose Riga has replaced the Charlton legend, who guided the club to promotion back to the second-tier two seasons ago.
Sat in 19th, two points and three places above the bottom three, the Addicks know a win against the Hornets will see them preserve their Championship status after a season of turmoil on and off the field.
The much-publicised takeover of the club by Belgian businessman Roland Duchâtelet has been the subject of heavy scrutiny from both supporters and non-supporters of the football club.
Much like the Pozzos and Watford, Duchâtelet owns more than one club and it it’s that which is the source of consternation.
But, like the Pozzos, the 67-year-old is not contravening any rules as his clubs compete in different countries.
As well as Charlton and Standard Liege, Duchâtelet owns German side Carl Zeiss Jena and Spanish side AD Alcorcon.
Duchâtelet’s takeover has once again raised the argument of whether individuals should be allowed to own more than one club or not.
The former Belgian Senator sold two of the club’s most important players - Dale Stephens and Yann Kermorgant - in the January transfer window, before announcing that Charlton players could be moved to Liege to help the club if required, hardly endearing himself to Addicks’ fans.
Whilst that hasn’t happened yet, players have more freely in the opposite direction, with four arrivals from Liege in the January transfer window.
Their impact has been mixed, with defender Loic Nego making one start and attacker Piotr Parzyszek making just out substitute appearance.
Former Leicester City winger Astrit Ajdarevic and striker Reza Ghoochannejhad have both featured regular and scored since moving to England.
Despite the addition of more exotic names, Charlton have lent heavily on some of their more experienced Championship campaigners, with skipper and former Watford loanee Johnnie Jackson just one example.
The 31-year-old midfielder has made over 150 appearances for the Addicks since signing from Notts County in 2010 and the Tottenham Hotspur trainee has proved to be a shrewd acquisition.
Capable of playing at left-back, left-midfield or in central midfield, Camden-born Jackson has been a model of consistency once more this term, making 42 appearances in all competitions.
Another former Hornet who has played a key role in recent weeks is Marvin Sordell. On loan from Bolton Wanderers, the striker has scored five in his last five to earn Riga’s men six crucial points against relegation rivals Yeovil Town and Sheffield Wednesday.
With eight goals in all competitions, the 23-year-old is Charlton’s top-scorer this term, with Kermorgant - now of Bournemouth - second-highest on five, highlighting one of Charlton’s biggest issues this season.
Charlton are without one-time Hornets’ target Rhoys Wiggins, meaning youngster Morgan Fox will continue at left-back.
Right-back Chris Solly returned in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers.
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