RICKIE Lambert can establish himself as a regular Premier League goalscorer, providing he gets the right service, according to Matt Le Tissier.
The Saints legend is a big supporter of the man who now wears his old number seven shirt and has scored 88 goals in just three years at the club.
Having never played at Premier League level before, Lambert will likely come under scrutiny in the opening weeks of the campaign.
But Le Tissier believes there is no reason to doubt the 30- year-old, providing Saints can create opportunities for him – something he is not sure they have done well enough in preseason.
“A lot depends on the system that we play and how much service we get to him,” said Le Tissier, pictured.
“From what I have seen so far this pre-season, I don’t think he has got great service.
“Maybe he will take a little bit of time to adapt to the new system.
“If it’s a Barcelona-style system they’re looking for then it’s going to take the players a bit of time to adapt.
“We’ll see whether they’ve got the quality to play that way and create the chances for Rickie.
“But I’m sure if he gets the service then Rickie will put them away.”
Manager Nigel Adkins has switched from the fluid 4-4-2 that served Saints so well the past two seasons to more of a 4-3-3 formation this summer.
The system involves three central midfielders, with one usually playing deeper than the other two, and a pair of wide players supporting a lone striker.
“It doesn’t look that comfortable at home,” observed Le Tissier. “It looks like a formation that might look better away from home.
“I think at home it maybe doesn’t put as much pressure on teams as you would like to see.”
So, should Saints be making the change?
“That question will only be debated when we get to Christmas and see how we are doing,” said Le Tissier.
“If we’re flying high then it will look like a genius decision.
“But if it doesn’t work then it’s a big call and that’s the stick he will get beaten with.
“It’s down really to how quickly the players adapt.”