Jack Cork has put Saints’ recent upturn in fortunes down to a set of frank discussions held among the players and manager Nigel Adkins earlier in the season.

The club endured a disastrous start to the campaign on their return to the Premier League, losing eight of their first ten matches.

However, following that dreadful opening run, Saints have found some form and have lifted themselves out of the relegation zone heading into tomorrow’s clash with Sunderland, at St Mary’s.

Their improvement has coincided with the return of Cork, who missed the start of the season through injury.

But the midfielder insists the real reason behind the transformation was a set of talks between the squad and manager Nigel Adkins.

''When you're going through a bad patch, the thing you do is look at everything you are doing wrong and try and put it right,'' he said.

''The manager came in and said 'what do you lot think we're doing wrong?' Everybody put their own input in, we changed things we needed to change and it worked for us.''

Cork added: ''We had a few talks and we had a few things around the training ground and stuff. We all decided as a team what we needed to do to put things right.

''We focused on different things at the training ground, a lot more people spoke up. We created little groups and stuff at the training ground to talk about certain issues.

''I think just everything has come together at the right time when things when were looking bad and somehow we all just pulled together and started picking up a few results in big games we had.''