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Boro midfielder poised to make first Valley return since play-off penalty miss
NICKY Bailey is set to make his first Valley appearance since his 2010 play-off penalty miss when Middlesbrough arrive in SE7 this weekend.
The midfielder enjoyed a prolific scoring record for the Addicks during his two-year spell at Charlton under Alan Pardew and then Phil Parkinson.
But his unfortunate penalty miss in the 2010 play-off semi-final against Swindon had major repercussions on his career at the club.
Another unwanted season in League One led to a cut in Charlton’s budget and with Bailey a prize asset, a £1.4m summer switch to Championship Middlesbrough had a certain inevitability to it.
Bailey’s time in the north east has not been quite as profitable in terms of goals scored for the 28-year-old, but that doesn’t necessarily come as any great surprise to Valley boss Chris Powell.
“No, because he’s been playing a different role for them,” the Charlton manager said.
“I think for Charlton he played primarily on the left, he was a right-footer or he normally played in the centre or a more advanced position. “At the time he was on the left but would join in and join the strikers to good effect, so he had a prolific season the season before he left and then since he’s gone to Middlesbrough it’s been a bit of a mixed bag.
“I know he’s had a couple of injuries since he’s been there, but also he’s played more as a deep lying midfielder.
“Whether that’s something they’ve seen in him, or whether it’s the way it’s gone for him to get in to the team, that’s something only he and the coaches at Middlesbrough can answer.
“He was a popular player when he was here, obviously scored a lot of goals and sadly remembered for his last kick in a red shirt in the play-off semi final.
“But I think all he did before that, 99% of our fans will know exactly what he done when he was here.
“I’m sure he’ll get a decent reception as well.”
Boro arrive bang in form, sitting third in the table on the back of four straight Championship wins and a 1-0 midweek League Cup success at Premier League Sunderland.
Powell said: “The whole team, they’ve performed really well. “Scott McDonald has come on recently and scored goals, either off the bench or from the start.
“Marvin Emnes, who missed out through injuries, if he plays then he’s a danger.
“They’ve got good players in midfield.
“Ishmael Miller is now having a bit of a run in the team.
“They’re alright. I know Tony Mobray and I know Mark Venus particularly well and they always play a certain way. “They like to use the ball and use it to good effect and they’ve been doing that and they had a bit of a cutting edge as well lately, so no, it’s a tough game for us.
“It’s always like that in this league but we’re coming up against a side that are in a very good place at the moment.”
And Charlton will be looking for a welcome home victory after some disappointing results so far at The Valley.
Powell admitted: “Well it’s something we need to address and something we need to really change, because it has been a bit puzzling for everyone and we need to rectify it, we know that.
“I don’t want to put any extra pressure on the players, I think we know what’s been happening with us at home.
“We’ve been hurt in games where we maybe should’ve taken something from them. “Our last home performance was disappointing, no question about that.
“But I think you look back on the Palace game, the Hull City game, possibly Watford when we didn’t really impose ourselves the way we should, especially at home you have to be on the front foot.
“You have to go and do your best to entertain the fans and regardless of the system, you have to go out there.”
The manager added: “We worked on different things since the Barnsley game and its worked to good effect in the two away games, so whether you do that at home or whether you adjust it slightly, is something I obviously will decide when it comes to three o’clock.
“I want my players to really feel happy at the Valley.
“It was a very, very good place for us last year and it’s something we wanted to carry on for us this year, because we knew it is tougher league and we know how strange football can be.
“It just so happens that away from home it’s been better for us.
“If that’s the way it is at the moment, I’ll take that until we rectify our home form.”
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