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Saturday sees two London boys put their friendship aside in a battle for three points.

Just seven miles separates Lambeth and Canning Town, the respective birthplaces of Fulham and Charlton Athletic bosses Scott Parker and Lee Bowyer.

The pair both came through the Addicks’ academy, before lining up in the same Newcastle United midfield several years down the line.

“Lee was a couple of years older than me, a goalscoring midfielder who then went off to Leeds and had a fantastic career,” Parker recalled. “I played alongside Lee when I moved onto Newcastle, so he’s someone I’d call a real close friend.

“I’ve often had texts now we’re both sitting in this position. He’s a very good guy who’s doing a fantastic job.

“It’s been a little bit rocky [at Charlton] over the last few years in the sense of where they’ve been and what they’re about, but Lee seems to have really settled the ship and they’re doing extremely well in a tough league.

“I’m not surprised, because Lee’s a fighter, someone with resilience, but he’s not been given an easy hand.

“It’s difficult enough being in the manager’s chair, with a lot of questions always being asked. To add to that, he’s had to deal with a lot of other stuff. Through it all he’s come out and done brilliantly.”

This weekend pits Parker against one of his former clubs for the first time since he made the move into management.

The Charlton fans have never forgotten his big money departure across the capital to Chelsea in January 2004, and when asked if Saturday’s lunchtime reunion will be emotional, Parker replied: “It probably will a little bit.

“I’ve been back as a player and got a lot of stick because I left on bad terms. I understood the fans’ disappointment when I left as we were flying, doing really well, and I was a large part of it at the time.

“I went and watched Charlton last night against Swansea…going back to The Valley and seeing some old faces there.

“This is a club that was a large part of my life and a club which I owe so much to. It gave me the opportunity to become the player I did.

“It gave me that opportunity to show what I could do under Alan Curbishley. It nurtured me and gave me some of the core values I have today. I hold Charlton in nothing but high regard.”