Harty on keeping it simple at the Albion

KEEPING it simple has always been a tried a tested formula, and the continuing success of Burnley in the Championship is a case in point.

For a northern industrial town with a population smaller than Worthing, the Clarets find themselves in the second automatic promotion place, with a five-point cushion, and a superior goal difference over third-placed Derby County.

But what’s the secret?

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For me, part of it is a British manager in the straight-talking Sean Dyche. In fact, in the current top ten sides in the Championship, only Wigan and the Albion have managers not born in the UK – a bit different from things in the league above.

The other major factor is consistency, not just in results but in team selection. If you look at the facts, apart from the odd injury and occasional suspension, Burnley’s line-up doesn’t change week in, week out.

Squad rotation isn’t an option and, as the Albion found out in the FA Cup, it can sometimes bite you on the backside.

I know the rest of the football world is waiting for the wheels to fall off at Turf Moor, whether that will happen remains to be seen.

But, in the meantime, can the Albion and Oscar Garcia learn anything from the Burnley model?

With arguably the two most pivotal fixtures of the season so far coming up, back-to-back home games against fellow play-off chasers Reading and QPR, there is no doubt that Garcia has to go for it.

No rotation, or as some of his less-kinder critics argue, muddled thinking.

Between now and the end of the season, he has to put out the strongest side available to him, playing the attractive football we know the Albion can play on their day.

The next 180 minutes of football at the Amex will possibly define how many people are in the ground for the remaining fixtures, and, perhaps, how many season tickets holders will renew, sadly a lot of people I know are beginning to fall out of love with the Albion.

Six points and the love affair could be back on.

There was yet another postponement for Worthing Youth on Monday with the mid-afternoon downpour putting paid to any chance of that evening’s fixture taking place at Whitehawk.

Frankly, I’ve lost count of the number of postponements. The county youth side haven’t played since early December, with the Ryman youth side only having played twice since the turn of the year, and I’m informed by people within the club that all kind of records have been broken for the wrong reasons.

So, a crumb of comfort on Monday evening with the news that the FA has endorsed the use of 3G pitches in all of their competitions, which further strengthens the case for Worthing to go down that particular route in the summer.