When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Adkins: We won't underestimate Pompey
There is a wave of anticipation starting to build in Southampton ahead of Saturday’s game with Saints fans optimistic of some on-field score settling as Adkins’ table toppers prepare for the visit of their fiercest rivals who are marooned in the relegation zone.
Michael Appleton’s side, much decimated due to their administration woes, did manage a morale boosting victory against Hull last week but followed that up by getting thumped 5-1 by midtable Burnley.
Some Saints supporters believe the derby game will be a Saints romp but Adkins will not allow his players to think that way.
“I’ve said it so many times Sun Tzu, The Art of War, never underestimate your opposition,” said the Saints boss. “Our players work very very hard and they’ve got to go out and perform.
“Consistently this season they have done it and they’ve done it very very well.
“The players are well aware of what is required and when you watch how we train nobody takes their foot off the pedal. We work very very hard.”
He added: “Our lads don’t need any motivation, especially against Portsmouth.“We know how important it is for our city, for our football club.
“It’s a massive, massive game.
“We’ve had 40 games this season and the players work hard at Southampton, they’ve consistently worked hard and I’ve got honest, hard working players, and they’ve demonstrated that all season.
“For us to have led the league and have been in the top two for virtually the whole campaign is testament to that.”
Despite the rivalry between the clubs, Adkins has warm words for Michael Appleton and the job he has done in trying circumstances.
“Michael has done a great job I must admit,” reckoned Adkins.
“They are playing some good football at the moment and we are well aware of them.“They changed to a diamond formation and are playing some good football.”
After Saints’ 3-0 beating at Blackpool it is back to work for the squad at Staplewood this week to prepare for a vital game, but one where the pressure of a derby will unusually take over from the pressure of securing automatic promotion.
“We will do what we do in all the games – analyse Blackpool, put it to bed and learn lessons from it, our preparation will be good through the course of the week to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game on Saturday,” reflected Adkins.
“Every game is important to us at Southampton.
“The players work very hard and they know how much it means to our supporters, they know how much it means to our football club and how much it means to each other.
“We’re all together as one, we all work very hard and we’ve got to keep giving the players the confidence and belief that everybody’s behind them, everybody supports them and we all share that same common goal.”
Saints will focus all their attentions on Pompey but will be aware that half of their remaining six futures come in the space of just a week, starting with the derby game and followed by a trip to Crystal Palace on Easter Monday and then hosting second placed Reading a week on Friday.
“It’s tough for everybody this season,” added Adkins.“We talk about it and how exciting.”