Saints legend Francis Benali admits he is “stunned” by the club’s decision to sack Nigel Adkins.

The long-serving former left-back said: “I’m gobsmacked and stunned at the timing of it.

“Nigel Adkins’ record, as every Saints fan would tell you, speaks for itself.”

“Even if Nicola Cortese felt that Nigel wasn’t the right man to take the club forward then surely he should have been relieved of his duties well before now.

“I just hope this doesn’t have a huge negative impact on the club and its results.

“I feel extremely sorry for Nigel.”