Harty on... Albion’s bid for the play-offs

A WORKMANLIKE, almost dogged performance, returned a 1-0 victory against Burnley on Saturday and propelled the Albion into the play-off positions for the first time since October.

Victory at the Amex was closely followed by an almighty “leg-up” courtesy of Millwall winning at the Albion’s play-off rivals Middlesbrough in the tea-time fixture.

It is now, quite simply, in the Albion’s hands. They are currently in the position where they don’t have to rely on other results and, another home win this Saturday against Huddersfield, will move the team closer to possibly the most lucrative four-club end-of-season knockout tournament.

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A place in the Premier League not only represents elite membership of arguably one of the best leagues in the world, it guarantees the promoted club £90million, regardless of how long they stay in the top division.

Quotes like “too early for promotion” or “not ready to go up” from a very small minority of supporters are as wide of the mark as a Fernando Torres shot.

If the team is good enough to either finish in the top two, or win the play-off final, then it is ready to compete in the top flight, both on and off the field.

Could the stage yet be set for the Championship final to usurp all previous finals, as deadly rivals the Albion and Crystal Palace lock horns at Wembley Stadium?

Before that, there is a certain matter of Palace’s visit to the Amex on Sunday, March 17, for a midday St Patrick’s Day showdown.

The euphoria of the first season at the Amex was slightly dampened by the 3-1 home defeat by Palace in September, 2011, so, as well as the all-important points, there is also a little bit of payback due.

Three days before the Palace game, supporters will get the unique chance to meet Gus Poyet and his squad when they attend Charlie Oatway’s testimonial boxing event at the Charmandean Centre, Worthing, on Thursday, March 14.

could gush like a run-of-the-mill Oscar acceptance speech, but, quite simply, Charlie is an Albion legend and deserves the recognition of a testimonial year.

Testament to the man is that he’s already prepared to donate 50 per cent to the very worthy cause of the club’s in- house charity “Albion in the Community”.

Dining spaces for a three-course meal and boxing are £45, with spectator tickets starting at £12, with a reduction for concessions.

For more information, please contact Amber Fry on 07743 566877 or log on to charlieoatway.co.uk

Unfortunately, the excellent Worthing Youth winning run came to an end with a semi-final defeat to Lewes on Sunday.

All credit to the Rooks, and the final, next Thursday, against Burgess Hill, should be a cracker.

It’s back to league action and, hopefully, winning ways, for the young Rebels on Monday night when they take on old rivals Bognor at Woodside Road (7.45pm kick-off).