Harty on Albion, Sky Sports and darts

AT the time of going to press, the Albion sit top of the Championship unbeaten in the league – something most supporters couldn’t have dreamed about a few years ago.

Regardless of the result at Leicester City on Saturday, personally, it throws up a bizarre situation next week.

To accommodate Sky TV schedules, for which I hope the Albion have been well rewarded, they find themselves entertaining Liverpool in the Carling Cup on Wednesday and then Leeds United in the Championship on Friday, both live on Sky Sports.

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So, what does manager Gus Poyet do?

While the Albion clearly have Premier League ambitions, they still probably don’t have a Premier League-sized squad. Therefore, even the most passionate Brighton fan would say it would be a very tall order to get a win from both games.

I firmly believe that, with no European football this year, the Carling Cup is a definite target for Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool.

Therefore, I would be surprised, even shocked, if when the team sheet comes out Wednesday, he puts out a second-string side.

There’s no doubt that whatever team Gus himself puts out, the Albion will give it a go, and, I’m sure, won’t be disgraced. However, given the choice between a win on Wednesday or three points in the league on Friday, almost every Albion fan would plump for the win against Leeds.

The reason is simple, three points in the league could mean we play Liverpool twice next year, home and away, and that is what we all really want.

We’ve almost been here before. Last year, when we went to Stoke in the FA Cup fifth round, Gus clearly did not field his strongest side.

Albion lost, a number of us travelled home from the Potteries disappointed, but it was all about “trusting in Gus” as his side then embarked on a vintage championship run-in.

Same again?

I sincerely hope so.

Top-flight darts returns to Worthing tonight (Thursday) when two-time world finalist, Simon “The Wizard” Whitlock, takes part in an exhibition evening compered by the man who gargles in gravel, Russ “The Voice” Bray.

The action takes place at the Empress Suite, AMC Leisure, formerly Connaught House (opposite the Pier), and doors open at 6pm.

Have to mention my old mate, Steve Duffield, the former “Butcher of Findon Valley”, who celebrates 50 years of playing for Findon Cricket Club with a special game this Sunday, when his invitation XI will take on a Findon side.

And, finally, it would be really good to see some of the local footballing public, young and old, turn out on Monday, as Worthing Under-18s take on near neighbours Shoreham, in the first preliminary round of the FA Youth Cup, at Woodside Road (7.45pm kick-off).