Nigel Adkins insists the hard work won’t stop at Saints just because they have a two-week gap in the fixture list.

Adkins and his players have a blank weekend coming up as scheduled opponents Chelsea are competing in the World Club Championship in Japan instead.

As a result, Saints could find themselves dragged back into the Premier League drop zone before they play again at home to fellow strugglers Sunderland.

Adkins could have been forgiven for giving his players a few days off caused by a rare weekend off before a packed festive programme.

That might especially be the case when it comes on the back of a victory against Reading which saw Saints jump out of the drop zone.

The win boosted their recent record to three wins, two draws and just one loss in six league matches.

But Adkins is having none of that and insists the players will be redoubling their efforts on the training ground ahead of another massive game at home to Sunderland three days before Christmas.

“We keep working,” he said when asked how he would manage the 13-day break between the Reading and Sunderland games.

“We have got a big work ethic here at Southampton.

Full story in today's Daily Echo