Harty on Albion’s FA Cup tie with Pompey

THE third round of the FA Cup is right up the rankings when it comes to our national sporting traditions.

While TV coverage and the money that comes with it has slightly changed the format, there will certainly be a shock or two come 5pm on Saturday night.

Will one of those shocks be at the Withdean with the Albion putting South Coast neighbours Portsmouth out of the competition?

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It’s a difficult call. In one way, would it be that much of a shock?

Brighton are riding high at the top of League One, while mid-table Championship Pompey are still suffering the hangover from last year’s financial meltdown at Fratton Park.

The other aspect is the change in priority. In the old days, regardless of where you were in your respective league, you always liked to have a bit of a cup run.

But ask both sets of supporters hand on heart what they want from this season and any kind of cup run would come a poor second.

For the Albion, with the Amex on the horizon, promotion is almost a pre-requisite, while Portsmouth, with a skeleton squad, could, with a possible injury or suspension crisis, find themselves in another relegation fight.

Would a cup run for either side end up scuppering progress in the league?

Given his selections in the previous rounds, it’s something that Gus Poyet has obviously considered.

What team will he put out on Saturday?

I personally think it will be a strong one and, for the record, I think Saturday will end in deadlock with a replay at Fratton Park the midweek after next.

However, for a genuine cup shock I still think Sussex could provide it with Crawley putting out Nigel Clough’s Derby County at the Broadfield on Monday night.

The great news regarding Worthing Town Youth FC and the redevelopment of Palatine Park is certainly a step in the right direction for the overall development of the town.

It’s also a testament to the hard work and dedication of Town chairman Ian Stewart, his lovely wife Elvira, the likes of club official Steve Hoare and his team of volunteers, and obviously the key involvement of the football foundation.

But, taking the Palatine project out of the equation, could the local council do more?

I’m sure other towns can say the same but, over the years, we’ve had a legacy of individuals who have done so much to promote and develop sport, both youth and adult.

Among others, the much-missed Bob Albon, Tony Bray, Odwyn Berry, Dick Appleton and Jim Lelliott, alongside the likes of Laurie Claydon and Cag Spiller are to name but a few.

I could write pages, detailing what these people, and many others, have done over the years, but what this town really needs now is for improved funding and development for all our council leisure facilities (other than Palatine), rather than the rumoured cuts and price rises.

I agree, due to government mismanagement, cuts have to be made, but look at the bigger picture, i.e, the whole council, both borough and county, and the amount of wasted money, before sport and leisure has to suffer.