Vital Reading Season Preview – Southampton
Nickname: The Saints
Ground: St. Mary’s (Capacity: 32,690)
When we face off: Sat 8th December (A), Sat 6th April (H)
Last season finish: 2nd – Premier League
Manager: Nigel Adkins – Like Royals boss Brian McDermott, Adkins has rose from insecurity to a Premier League manager, having began his career as a physio. Having had a successful spell at Scunthorpe, he moved to St Mary’s and has masterminded two consecutive promotions.
Key player: Adam Lalana – The tricky playmaker may not have received as much limelight as his team mate Rickie Lambert, but it is fair to say he was just as important for the Saints last campaign. Can very much pull the strings in midfield and has great technical ability.
Season Preview: The Saints were on the verge of running away with the Championship in January, but a late surge from Reading knocked Southampton off top spot and took the title. However, I believe the Saints still need to do a lot of strengthening to cope with the demands of the top division.
The addition of Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has been a smart move by Adkins, but they must add central defensive reinforcements if they want to have any chance of surviving. They will also need to stop relying on the likes of Lambert and Lalana to get them goals. As much as I don’t want it to be that way, the Saints could well be involved in a relegation dogfight this season.