IT was no happy Valley for Middlesbrough midfield player Nicky Bailey on his last appearance for former club Charlton at SE7 but Addicks manager Chris Powell is confident the returning star will get a good reception today.
Bailey is set to make his first Valley outing since his fateful play-off penalty miss in Charlton’s semi-final against Swindon Town in the Spring of 2010, but Powell feels the overwhelming majority of home supporters will remember the positive impact he made in south-east London as opposed to one infamous moment.
Bailey, converted into a deep-lying midfield player by Boro, seeking their sixth successive victory this afternoon, 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 against Swindon had major repercussions on his career at the club, with another season in League One leading to a cut in Charlton’s budget, with prize asset Bailey sold to Middlesbrough in a £1.4m summer switch in 2010.
On Bailey’s return, Charlton chief Powell said: “He was a popular player when he was here, obviously scored a lot of goals and is sadly remembered for his last kick in a red shirt in the play-off semi-final.
“But I think with all he did before that, 99 per cent of our fans will know exactly what he did when he was here.
“I’m sure he will get a decent reception as well.”
Away-day specialists Boro, attempting to win on the road for the sixth consecutive match, could be boosted by the surprise return to the squad of striker Lukas Jutkiewicz this afternoon, with the former Coventry City man making a quicker than expected recovery from a knee problem.
Kevin Thomson and Luke Williams could also be in the squad after calf and hip injuries respectively.
Ishmael Miller is struggling, with central defender Jonathan Woodgate unlikely to feature due to a thigh injury.
Seb Hines, who came off with a groin injury in midweek, should be okay.