Harty on... Gus Poyet and the Albion

SINCE I was last with you, it has certainly been eventful at the Albion.

During the International break, we had the “will he, won’t he?” saga of whether Gus Poyet would join Premier League strugglers Reading.

In my opinion, I don’t think there was ever any question of Gus taking the position. The whole scenario merely made him feel a little bit more loved by everyone at the Amex, including the chairman, but also perhaps subliminally sent out a message to a number of other chairmen that he is pre-pared to speak to other clubs.

At the time of going to press, there is also talk linking Poyet to the vacancy at Leeds United.

This again, in my opinion, is mere speculation and clearly misplaced because, as far I understand, strong family ties in the south dictate that, possibly with the exception of the unlikely event of Gus being offered either of the Manchester jobs, the only positions he would seriously be interested in would all be south of Watford.

So, when all the Reading-related furore died down, it was back to matters on the pitch with a huge game up at Nottingham Forest.

Every Albion fan on the globe would have taken the 2-2 draw prior to kick-off. Yet, the circumstances surrounding the 90th-minute Forest equaliser, namely Albion keeper Casper Ankergren’s mistake, invoked a fair amount of debate.

If an outfield player makes a serious mistake, more often than not a team-mate can rectify the situation. However, if a goalkeeper commits a major error, it often results in a goal.

I’ve watched football long enough to know that even the best goalkeepers make the simplest of errors. Kenny Dalglish put the ball through Ray Clemence’s legs in the 1976 Scotland versus England game and, before that, Peter Shilton let a Polish shot go under his body at Wembley in 1973, ultimately eliminating England from the 1974 World Cup.

Both before and after, Messrs Shilton and Clemence were great keepers, and by the same token Casper doesn’t become a bad goalie overnight.

Prior to his mistake, he’d arguably been man-of-the-match with a number of his saves keeping the Albion in the contest. So, internet talk by a minority of supporters of terminating his contract is so wide of the mark, it’s laughable.

More significant and perhaps a tad worrying was Tuesday’s home game with Charlton.

Granted, Charlton came to the Amex with the clear intention of “parking the bus”, however, it’s the attacking options, or lack of them, on the bench that was the concern.

After his Reading “hiatus”, Gus tried and failed to bring a loan striker in before the deadline. I do hope the lack of additional firepower in the wake of the injuries to Mackail-Smith and Hoskins will not come back to haunt the Seagulls.

However, on a positive note, the point gained on Tuesday night keeps the Albion in the play-off zone, ahead of Saturday’s home fixture with Leicester City, which is effectively a play-off quarter-final.

If the Albion beat the Foxes, then with the respective run-ins for both sides, it