Curbishley braced for crunch week

Alan Curbishley feels the next seven days may determine Charlton’s season.

Alan Curbishley feels the next seven days may determine Charlton’s season.

The Addicks face Coca-Cola League One side Brentford in their FA Cup fifth-round tie at The Valley on Saturday, before then travelling to Newcastle for a re-arranged Barclays Premiership clash.

Curbishley had hoped the recent home win over Liverpool would be followed up by a determined display at Manchester City on Sunday – but instead his side returned to south-east London on the back of a sixth away league defeat.

Nevertheless, Charlton have a great chance to book their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for only the third time since they lifted the famous trophy in 1947.

The Addicks boss knows it is a real opportunity to kick-start their campaign, having earlier climbed up to second place in the Premiership before entering a terrible run of form at the end of 2005.

“If we get a result on Saturday and pick something up from our game in hand against Newcastle, it can still change our season,” Curbishley insisted.

“I always look at the next game as a chance to bounce back. That is how I am looking at Saturday, and it is a good chance to progress.”

With Charlton having slipped back down the table to 12th place, it would take a Herculean effort for the south-east London club to force their way back into contention for the UEFA Cup places.

However, with a strong likelihood of one of the top sides making it through to the FA Cup final, that could mean a guaranteed European spot for the runners-up this year.

Addicks captain Luke Young said: “I think we have given ourselves too much to do now (to qualify for Europe via the Premiership).

“We will look to the cup now, and that is our biggest chance.”

Curbishley will be forced into at least one change against the Bees, with striker Marcus Bent cup-tied after playing for Everton against Millwall in round three.

Winger Dennis Rommedahl could return to the squad after suffering cracked ribs, which have kept him out of action for the last three weeks.

Midfielder Matt Holland has been struggling for fitness since picking up a thigh injury against Leyton Orient in the last round.

The 31-year-old is expected to be back in contention this weekend, but is not expecting to walk straight into the side again.

“It was very frustrating to pick up yet another injury because I have been out for long enough this season through one thing or another,” said Holland.

“It can be very difficult to force your way back into the side because of the strength of the squad we have got here.”

Charlton will give Martin Allen’s men every respect after the Bees knocked out Sunderland in the previous round.

“Brentford are having a great season and are a physical, hard-working side,” Holland said in The Kentish Times.

“We played them in pre-season and it was a tough workout so we will be giving them plenty of respect.

Holland added: “It is as good a draw as we could have asked for and a great opportunity to make it into the last eight.”

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