The time has come. Tomorrow is huge no doubt. A game that won't ultimately decide our fate but a result that will say plenty about both sides chances of survival once the final whistle sounds. For those of us that moaned about midtable mediocrity, welcome to the harsh realities and nervous excitement of a relegation dogfight. Pardew in one corner and Curbishley in the other.
Who will play and where has been lost a little bit on the boards and blogs of fans these last couple of weeks because the magnitude of the game. Darren Bent is set to play and lead the side, an incredible boost to Addicks to have this fearless and intelligent player back in the side. Luke Young will hopefully add his experience and poise to the back four. El Khak looks the only obvious centre half with Pards perhaps favouring Bougherra over HH or Diawara if fit.
The temptation to play 5 in midfield is always there but we need Romm, Thomas or Ambrose firing on all cylinders and simply recently they each haven't been consistent enough. A flat midfield 4 to include Song and Holland looks likely with the two Bents up front.
This season our fixtures have had a distinct pattern to them with a length of tough games followed by a row of more winnable ones. We are in the latter cycle now and I would rather be standing right behind Pardew as we enter absolute crunch time than Curbs.
Love him as we did, so often Curbs came up short when we really wanted him to move to the next level and I wonder how much he's been ruminating over his end of season record? It's been hard to ignore what has been going on over the river, even back to when they beat Man U, and I think we all thought then that Curbishley would quickly lead them away from danger but Curbs is outside of his comfort level and the expectations of both fans and chairman weighs heavy and pressure has never sat well with him.
Of course it is only about what happens during the 90 minutes tomorrow that matters, all the other stuff is just hypothesis. We have Pards, they have Curbs. Lets remember that when we dole out our applause tomorrow. Only one of them wants us to win, please remember that.
The players and manager have talked actively all week about how important the fans are, lets give them everything we've got. Come on you Reds.