IT was fitting that Danny Ings made a big step closer to joining a pantheon of great Saints strikers at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.

At a club where goalscorers are revered, from Jackie Milburn and Malcolm MacDonald, to Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer, Ings joined some legendary Saints forwards when he became the club’s fifth player to score in five consecutive top-flight matches.

Matt Le Tissier achieved the feat twice, in 1994 and 1996, while Ings can equal James Beattie’s 17 year-old record of six consecutive Premier League games if he continues his prolific run in the six-pointer against West Ham on Saturday evening.

A quick scan of the inavaluable tome In That Number, the most comprehensive post-war chronicle of Southampton FC, provides a reminder that Ings' scoring sequence has put him alongside several Saints forwards who are still idolised long after hanging up their boots.

He is halfway to the all-time record held by the one and only Ron Davies, who scored in TEN successive matches at the beginning of the club’s first season in the old division one, back in 1966.

Danny Wallace is the only other Saint to score in five consecutive top-flight games (the winger did so when still a teenager in December 1982), while the likes of Ted MacDougall, George O’Brien, Derek Reeves and Charlie Wayman achieved the feat outside the top flight.

Whether he makes it six in a row on Saturday or not, when it goes without saying that the result is all-important, the £18m that Saints paid Liverpool to make last season’s loan move permanent is already looking a bargain.

The fee is certainly not weighing heavily on Ings' shoulders. Anything but.

With ten goals from his last 11 games, he looks like he is enjoying his football as much as he has at any time since first playing under his dad’s tutelage on Netley Recreation Ground.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has talked about the energy and commitment that Ings ‘invests’ and there is no doubt that the 27 year-old is reaping the rewards for everything he has put into his career thus far.

When you consider the injuries he has had to contend with, it is hard to think of a player more deserving of the success Ings is currently enjoying.

During his injury-decimated spell at Liverpool he responded to the disappointment of serious knee problems by spending so much time in the pool he swam the equivalent of the English channel, despite only being able to use his arms, during his rehabilitation.

It is remarkable to think that his first goal of this campaign - against his former Liverpool teammates in August - was his first goal of 2019. 
But Ings is showing you get what you put in.

Now happily settled in his new home in the Meon Valley, he is enjoying his best-ever season in the Premier League and his most prolific since scoring 26 goals for Burnley during their 2013/14 promotion-winning season.

Ings’ upturn in form began with his brace at Pompey, since when ‘Danny Ings, He’s One of Our Own’ has been a regular refrain from the St Mary’s choirmasters.

He actually spent more of his Saturday afternoons as a boy watching his dad play for Queens Keep, Vosper Thornycroft or Otterbourne in the Hampshire League than Saints at The Dell or St Mary’s.

But Ings cherishes his roots. One of his tattoos is of himself as a boy holding a ball under his arm with one hand, and his dad’s hand with the other, while the enjoyment he gets from representing his hometown club is clear for all to see. 

He has shown what an accomplished all-round striker he is of late, but Ings’ game is not just about goalscoring. 

A wonderful technician, his ability to play between the lines gives him a dimension essential to succeed in the modern game, even when the goals are not flowing as they have of late. 

Whether playing as the main striker, or just behind Michael Obafemi or Shane Long, Ings has been outstanding.

His last five goals have all been scored from inside the penalty area, but have shown the range of his goalscoring ability.

His six-yard box equalisers against Everton and Watford, either side of the sharp thinking that earned him the opening goal at Arsenal, were followed by the near-post header from James Ward-Prowse’s brilliant free-kick that gave Saints the lead against Norwich last week.   

Ings’ hamstring was apparently a little tight after that win against but his fast feet and sharp reactions were once again on point at St James Park, when he seized on Jack Stephens’ outstanding long pass and matched it with another clinical finish.

While the force is with him, Saints must ensure they take maximum advantage.