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Ex-Saint Watson: Adkins needs battlers to complement his creative stars
NIGEL Adkins needs to add two “dogs of war” to his Saints squad during the current transfer window to help ensure Premier League survival.
Adkins is believed to be targeting a new centre half as he bids to strengthen his back four options for the second half of the season.
He has already been linked with Cagliari’s Italian international defender Davide Astori, a player Adkins admits he is aware of.
Ex-Saints striker Gordon Watson is adamant that Adkins could do with more top flight experience and know-how, to add “another piece to his artillery”, during the next few weeks.
Saints were one of the Premier League’s biggest spenders during last summer’s transfer window, shelling out over £30m.
But only one of their signings, midfielder Steven Davis, had ever played in the Premier League before.
And it is that lack of top flight nous that Watson believed contributed to Saints’ faltering start to the campaign. Now he wants to see Saints bring in some experienced heads – one in the centre of defence and one in central midfield.
“There are hardly any negatives when you look at the squad,” Watson said.
“I said back in early November, when people were calling for Nigel to be sacked, that Saints should stick with him.
“I have always said we are capable of staying up.
“As a half-term report, Saints can give themselves a pat on the back. No one should be unhappy at where they are in the table.
“They hardly signed anyone last summer with Premier League experience, so they have had to learn.
“The same goes for the manager – Nigel didn’t have any Premier League experience, so he has had to learn every week.
“And they have learnt and improved as they have gone along.
“They have only lost two out of the last ten. But I would like to see Nigel sign a ‘dog of war’ in defence and another in midfield.
“Those players might just be cover, and they might just provide a strong voice in the changing room.
“They can be an extra piece to Nigel’s artillery, and they could give the side a presence.
“There’s not that much experience in the dressing room with regards to a Premier League dogfight, and there’s not that much experience in Nigel’s backroom staff for the same thing.
“We could do with some players who know how to close out for a 1-0 win.
“With the benefit of hindsight, we could have done with someone like that in the game at Stoke.
“We do try and play football, but sometimes – certainly away from home – you need to be able to change.”
The goalkeeping situation is a major talking point at Saints again after Kelvin Davis was dropped for Tuesday’s game with Arsenal, Artur Boruc winning a shock recall.
“I don’t know what Kelvin had done wrong,” said Watson.
“The goalkeeper situation has left me a bit puzzled.
“But I wouldn’t sign another keeper this month. We’ve got three already, so one would have to leave.
“We don’t have a problem scoring goals.
“We see the best of Ramirez when Adam Lallana is not in the team, as those two are very alike.
“Sometimes he’s a bit too conservative.”