MIXED fortunes for the Albion. As frustrating as the League Cup exit at Walsall was and subsequently missing out on a home tie with Chelsea if, in the grand scheme of things, it allows Chris Hughton’s men to concentrate on a sustained Championship challenge, then I will willingly accept defeat to the Saddlers.
On the plus side, Lewis Dunk has ended speculation that he was leaving the Amex by signing a new five-year deal.
This represents an apparent huge turnaround, I had heard from two reliable sources that the player was on his way, backed up by his alleged refusal to play for the team in the Capital One Cup at Southend.
It almost begs the question, who wanted the move more, the agent or the player?
And why the turnaround?
With Fulham allegedly prepared to treble Dunk’s wages, money has clearly been a factor, but I’m also, and possibly looking through my blue and white coloured spectacles, thinking that Dunk and his representatives might have been party to a number of potential signings before the closing of the transfer window next week.
Whatever happened, the bottom line is Albion have sent out a clear message that, while every club with the exception of one or two at the top are ultimately a selling club, on this occasion managing to keep hold of one of the top players proves, under Hughton, the club’s apparent long-term prospects are good.
With a top-of-the-table clash at Ipswich on the horizon, anything other than defeat will certainly consign the Walsall defeat to the memory banks.
And, for Sussex sports most FAQ, Chris Hughton will play Bobby Zamora when he’s fully fit and can get the optimum out of him, not before.
With the Albion away in front of a sell-out Portman Road crowd, anyone wanting a football fix locally need look no further than Woodside Road as Saturday sees an FA Cup clash for the Rebels with the visit of Walton & Hersham, with a 3pm kick-off. Prior to that, the 7HQ bar will be showing the BT Sport Premier League game between Newcastle and Arsenal at 12.45pm.
On the cricket front, the future’s bright. The Ashes have not only returned home but it appears Kevin Pietersen has finally moved on.
A guest on TalkSport on Monday night’s Drivetime show, Pietersen was quick to acknowledge and congratulate Alastair Cook and his England team on this summer’s success.
To his credit, despite the obvious prompting from the presenter, he didn’t dwell on the past.
He spent a lot of the interview talking about his cricket foundation and an amazing cricket tournament he’s putting together in Dubai, made up of unprivileged youngsters from around the cricketing nations across the globe.
Things might have been different and for all his arrogance and swagger, some might have seen him as a solution if England had been on the receiving end of a sustained mauling from the Aussies.
But it didn’t, KP is part of history and at times an Ashes legend, but English cricket can now move forward with fresh optimism. And, finally, having spent almost a decade of happy times at Worthing United I, like everyone else, was saddened by the tragic events of the weekend.
I am however buoyed by the way the local footballing family, involving every club in the locality, have all come together at this devastating time.
The two young lads, along with everyone else who sadly lost their lives on Saturday, will never be forgotten.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!