Every confidence in Saints' ability

Daily Echo: Steve De Ridder and Jack Cork Steve De Ridder and Jack Cork

TICK FOLLOWS tock follows tick follows tock.

The summer lull has teased and tortured many a supporter as the nation’s footballing fraternity is forced to go cold turkey once again.

But now we’re there.

Back in stripes, Saints are finally about to re-emerge stage left to the Championship.

England’s second tier may not be the bright lights of Broadway that many crave in the form of the Premier League, but it gives Nigel Adkins’ men the opportunity to be rediscovered as a sizeable force in the game.

Of course, unlike the last two years, we’re no longer one of the big boys on the block.

There are plenty of teams in what used to be known as Division Two whose lofty ambitions match or even exceed our own.

Sven Goran-Eriksson’s Leicester, for example are very serious about getting out of the second tier.

Splashing £5m on former Saints defender Matt Mills shows how serious they are, and acts as a reminder to Saints that this is a world away from League One.

It would appear the Championship has become the oft-talked about Premier League Two.

Big teams with big players make up this division. Kevin Nolan, Shane Long, Matt Taylor, Liam Lawrence, Michael Johnson – all players that would be able to command a place many top flight teams.

Saints have their work cut out.

But that’s not to say Southampton are being left behind.

It would be stupid to give a definitive appraisal after a 50-minute friendly appearance, but Steve De Ridder has certainly turned a few heads on the wing and sounds a decent prospect for the coming season.

With Puncheon being left out in the cold and Alex Chamberlain angling for a move, an extra winger could still be needed however.

Meanwhile, we all know about Jack Cork and the assured, classy performances he can bring to the table.

His signing is a shrewd bit of business and makes the central midfield place in Adkins’ side ultra competitive, for Schneiderlin, Chaplow and Hammond.

The problem facing the squad is a depth in certain positions.

The front four – Lambert, Connolly, Barnard and Guly – were fantastic at League One level, but with the exception of Connolly – whose talent seems to defy his growing years – it a unit untested at this level.

I have confidence the forwards will be able to deliver in the Championship, but the unknown should always be a concern.

We probably still need an extra central defender as a long term replacement for Jaidi, but beyond that the squad seems capable of competing in this league.

Notions of ‘doing a Norwich’ are fanciful, but a mid-table finish should be the minimum aim – with one important caveat.

We must beat Portsmouth.

This is the game we all looked for the moment the fixtures came out.

This is our chance to reassert ourselves again as the top club on the south coast.

If League One Saints were capable of hammering Premier League Pompey for 60 minutes before succumbing to the pace of players they couldn’t afford, the prospect now we’re on an even keel is mouthwatering.

Reassert our dominance and provide a platform to move on up.

That is the goal for the season.

I have every confidence Saints can achieve it.

Comments (5)

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12:46pm Sun 31 Jul 11

Paul Lucas says...

Good article Dan and so good to know we have an actual SAINTS fan in the office writing FOR us:)
.
For the record I think we'll end up in the top 6.
Good article Dan and so good to know we have an actual SAINTS fan in the office writing FOR us:) . For the record I think we'll end up in the top 6. Paul Lucas
  • Score: 0

4:09pm Sun 31 Jul 11

northam-is-the-core says...

Class Article, good to see someone in the Daily Echo offices knows what hes doing. Maybe you can be the one to go appoligise to Saints so we can start enjoying the Echo again!!
Class Article, good to see someone in the Daily Echo offices knows what hes doing. Maybe you can be the one to go appoligise to Saints so we can start enjoying the Echo again!! northam-is-the-core
  • Score: 0

11:49am Mon 1 Aug 11

St Retford says...

Heh - nice analysis of last year's Pompey game. We will destroy them this year.
Heh - nice analysis of last year's Pompey game. We will destroy them this year. St Retford
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Tue 2 Aug 11

lowe esteem says...

Have heard some of our fishy friends saying they wouldn't mind being relegated as long as they beat us, you know what, I'm starting to come round to their PERVERSE thinking- as long as we stuff them in the other game and get promoted.
Have heard some of our fishy friends saying they wouldn't mind being relegated as long as they beat us, you know what, I'm starting to come round to their PERVERSE thinking- as long as we stuff them in the other game and get promoted. lowe esteem
  • Score: 0

11:03pm Wed 3 Aug 11

joelster says...

excellent article dan
thanks!
You nailed it
excellent article dan thanks! You nailed it joelster
  • Score: 0

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