DANNY Ings is hooked on scoring goals.

Already bagging over 20 of them in all competitions this season, Ings still has five games to add to that tally before this campaign comes to its delayed end.

The 27-year-old’s addiction to scoring, he says, started as a youngster and has been with him throughout his career.

Speaking to the Daily Echo about his excellent season to date, Ings said: “I think a lot of comes down to hard work and building momentum.

“As a striker that’s all you try and grip on to once you’ve scored a few goals because you want to keep improving so you can go again.

“When you’re a striker and you’ve got some form, you often find yourself in better positions to score goals than before you went on the run.

“For me, goals are goals. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve stolen the ball off Hugo Lloris or I’m whipping it into the corner like I did against Watford.

“It’s the same feeling because you know you are scoring and contributing to the team. It’s such a great feeling and it’s something I’ve enjoyed ever since I was a young lad.

“Scoring is addictive and I always try to score as many as I can.”

Given Ings’ prolific record it’s easy to forget he started the season playing second fiddle to Che Adams, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s £15million signing from Birmingham.

Although he came off the bench to score against Liverpool at the start of the campaign, the local lad still struggled to force his way into the starting XI.

But that all changed on one September evening at Fratton Park in a derby match that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

The celebration is iconic but, more importantly for Ings, his brace lit a fire that’s been burning ever since.

“I think that night definitely kick-started things,” Ings reflected.

“Before that I wasn’t in the side, I was coming on in games and it was quite frustrating.

“From that night, I’ve managed to take the opportunity with both hands and I’ve made sure I’ve been putting enough work and effort in.

“I really want to put the plans the manager has for each game in place.

“The best part of my season was probably over the Christmas period. Having such a strong base physically really helped me with that period.”

Lockdown seemingly came at the perfect time for Saints’ star man.

He’d managed two goals in the nine games before the coronavirus pandemic led to football being temporarily paused.

Since Saints’ season resumed away to Norwich, the striker’s scored three in four matches.

The former Liverpool man went on to explain that, although he continued training, the three-month hiatus set him up for a strong finish to the season.

“I feel like I’m fitter now than I was before the lockdown, and I’ve scored a few goals since the lockdown,” he added. “I think coming back in better shape has been really positive for me because it’s kept the consistency there.

“I want to keep building and I want to score as many goals as I can before the end of the season and to see how many wins we can get in the remaining games.

“That’s the most important thing right now.

“You don’t go and beat Man City and then take your foot off the gas, you want to go again and again and find things that you can improve on.”

With Premier League safety wrapped up, Hasenhuttl won’t want to witness his side let their standards slip.

Towards the end of last season, Saints managed just two wins in their final eight matches.

But from what the players are saying and with how they are acting, taking their foot off the gas is something they won’t allow to happen.

“There’s been a good feeling around the place, especially since the restart,” the Saints ace added.

“We’ve come back in great condition. We are still pressing teams in the 95th minute, we just don’t stop.

“Now we’ve got a few good results against some great teams, it just gives us a lot of confidence to go again and see how many wins we can finish with at the end of the season.”

Although Saints won’t let their standards slip, Ings, who has started playing golf, hopes the team can get together once this season comes to an end later this month.

The 27-year-old has instructed James Ward-Prowse to organise a golf day when the time’s right – but admitted he won’t want to be playing in a fourball with the club captain!

Discussing the potential of pitting his golf skills against the rest of the squad, Ings said: “Alex McCarthy is the man, he’s supposed to be really good.

“I think we should definitely try and arrange a team golf day at the end of the season.

“I’m going to try and Prowsey to arrange that, but I couldn’t play with Prowsey because we would just laugh too much. If we went to play golf together…it just couldn’t happen.

“That’s something on the cards that we want to do as a team at some point.”