THEY'RE worried in Japan. So big is the concern that Sumo wrestling is becoming a turn-off to younger generations drawn to western sports like football and baseball like moths to a flame, that the flab-fest sport's organisers are introducing new steps to make it more interesting and appealing.

No, there won't be female nude sumo and it won't be like WWF Smackdown.

And neither will there be Dan Petrescu, who did for Saturday's stalemate what the exciting new measures (whatever they might be) will do for Sumo.

As the match took on the appearance of a top contest at the Basho, with the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, Petrescu's brief involvement had the enlivening effect of tossing a mouse into London Zoo's elephant house.

You can see why Glenn Hoddle likes Petrescu, and why he reacted like a man who has stuck his damp fingers into a light socket when Petrescu became available, to make a second stab at signing him for Saints, Hoddle already having signed him once, of course, for Chelsea.

Dan, Dan the wing-back man had to spend 75 minutes of the game, champing on the bench, although he would have known that his lack of first-team action at Bradford would have dulled him for a full 90 minutes.

He came on to the biggest cheer of the day, from fans who obviously gave nary a second thought to the fact that he chose Bradford over Saints back in July.

At that point, Saints fans would have cheered just about anything, including the appearance of Alan Ball as substitute if it meant breaking down Charlton's stubborn, steadfast defence.

Credit to Charlton. They've learned their lesson well from their last flirtation with the Premiership when their naievity won them lots of friends but few points.

Shorn of key strikers, their set-up was to shut-up, and like the woman who has camped outside Harrod's for a week to be first in the January sales queue, they got what they came for. No, not a halfprice Wedgewood dinner service, but a point.

They challenged - nay, dared! - Saints to break them down, and apart from one or twice, they couldn't.

James Beattie breached the defence and found Dean Kiely's left leg can stretch further than Kiley Minogue's, tough perhaps not as shapely. Matt Oakley discovered another of Kiely's talents, when he went down quickly to slap a parrying left-hand on his close range shot.

Saints cause was perhaps not helped by injury to Marian Pahars (although Charlton were without Johansson, Hunt, Pringle and Mendonca) which left James Beattie to forage on his own, when he really support. The onus is always on the home team, and one out-and-out striker doesn't shout 'cutting edge' even if Saints did set the agenda in terms of possession and territory.

Saints had tried to go over, under, and through the Charlton defence, but rarely round them, except through Wayne Bridge's rampages down the left.

Enter Petrescu. Primarily a defender, it's the Romanian's offensive capabilities that Hoddle is keen to introduce. His technique is top-notch, able to take defenders on and deliver a telling cross, and just as importantly, his experience tells him exactly where to place himself.

With Petrescu on one flank and Bridge on the other Saints should have the ways and means of stretching the most compact defence.

Petrescu looked the business in his brief appearance, and might even have capped his day in golden glory when the ball dropped to him 18 yards out and had he been sharper, he might have bulged the onion bag instead of hitting the seats.

But then again, you can't have too much excitement, as the organisers of Sumo know all too well.