LES Reed is confident the Saints squad will welcome the club’s new training facilities when they return to pre season training early next month.

The players will be using the new £30m Staplewood development for the first time.

It is those new facilities that has led Saints to decide to stay at home rather than take an extended trip abroad this summer.

“There’s a lot going on, as is normal during the close season,” said Reed.

“Normally we’d be doing pitch refurbishment but we’ve got a brand new pitch with undersoil heating, so there’s a big project there but it’s coming on great.

“There’s a lot of unusual stuff, like the training ground coming to fruition.

“That’ll be ready to move into on July 1, so, when the players come back, they’ll be moving into a completely new environment.

“I’m sure they’re really going to enjoy that.

“It’s a state of the art facility, which means we can do our pre-season training at home but in a new place, which they’ll find quite different.”

He added: “Obviously, there’ll be players coming back from World Cup duty for different countries, so they’ll be coming back in a staggered sense.

“That means that, if we stay at home and train in the early days, we won’t have players travelling all around the world.

“We’ve got some good fixtures lined up.”

Saints last week announced trips to Bournemouth, Brighton and Swindon, and Reed said those matches “are good for our fans to get to, and good for those clubs because we’re their local Premier League club”.

He added: “The atmosphere at those games will be good because they will be quite competitive [for] pre-season games. They are our near neighbours, so we did that deliberately.

“It’ll be an opportunity for new players to be seen pretty early if we can get our business done early.

“Then we’ve got two marquee fixtures against European clubs, one away and one at home, which we’re just finalising the details of now.

“They’ll be very good games for us and, by that time, we should have players recovered from their World Cup experiences and new targets coming in.

“Our game at St Mary’s will be the week before the Premier League starts, and we’re hoping that’ll be a bit of a festival.

“The fans will get to see the new players that we’ve brought in and welcome the new manager and any new coaching staff, and hopefully kick off the season with a really upbeat atmosphere.”