Chris Baird could still start next season as a Saints player.

Boss George Burley has not given up hope of keeping hold of the club's player of the season - despite Baird handing in a transfer request almost two weeks ago.

Baird has been on holiday since shortly after requesting a move, which came on the back of a £1m bid for his services from Fulham - an offer Burley condemned as "derisory".

Many have assumed that the handing in of a transfer request will spell the end of Baird's days at Saints and pave the way for a move to the Premiership as soon as a club meets a valuation Saints find acceptable.

However, Burley is still desperately keen to hang on to the 25-year-old Northern Ireland star.

And, when given the scenario of Baird starting the 2007/08 season at Saints, said: "Of course it can happen. Chris is a top class professional and I've got on very well with him since I got here.

"He hardly played any games before I arrived and I think he's responded to my style of management, so working with him won't be a problem."

For full story see today's Daily Echo.