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Saints take on 'clean sheet' experts
6:00am Thursday 20th February 2014 in Sport
Saints will have to break down the clean sheet experts to bag a third away win in a row as they take on West Ham on Saturday.
The Hammers have strung together four consecutive games without letting in a goal as they hit form with a draw and three wins on the spin.
They currently lead the way in Premier League shut outs, with 13 already this season.
However, they have also failed to score on ten occasions.
In contrast Saints have kept ten clean sheets, and conceded fewer goals overall than West Ham, but have only failed to score in four matches.
The game certainly promises to be an intriguing contest.
West Ham keeper Adrian says he is proud of the Hammers’ defensive run and is optimistic they can keep it going.
“It’s my job to stop everything,” he said. “Four in a row is really, really difficult in the Premier League and I am really happy. We have to keep going in this direction.
“As a goalkeeper, when you have confidence, confidence in the manager and in the other players, you are happy on the pitch. Sometimes I have to help my teammates and other times, not too much, but against Norwich I made three or four saves to help the team.
“It’s really, really amazing. The clean sheets are important for the team and it’s even more important for me, because I’m the goalkeeper.”
Hammers are already out of the FA Cup, so they have enjoyed a clear weekend – and taken full advantage by going away on a warm weather training camp to Dubai.
Assistant manager Neil McDonald said: “It was perfect timing for us, as leading up to the last few weeks, we hadn’t been getting good results, so fixing the trip up in itself had a motivation for the lads as they had something to look forward to.
“We got some good results, beating Norwich, Aston Villa and Swansea, and drawing with Chelsea. The results have been fantastic over the last three or four weeks and that’s just cemented the good week we had in Dubai. Hopefully we can get the same results when we come back.
“We hope this trip has a positive impact on results – like it has done the previous two seasons. Everybody coming back from injury has given everyone a boost. The signings that the manager has made have done the same and there’s lots of competition for places.
“That’s certainly shown at the moment – we have Winston Reid who was at the heart of the defence before who can’t get in the team because we’re keeping clean sheets and playing well.
“The bar has been set a little bit higher, which is great, and everybody is full of confidence – that has shown on the field in the last four games. When the confidence comes back everyone performs that little bit better and everyone has a smile on their face.
“Certainly Dubai has made everyone happier too, because it was beautiful weather, we were staying in a beautiful place and training was at a fantastic facility, so hopefully that will kick us on for the rest of the season.”