With just under two weeks until Saints’ Premier League season begins, the relative silliness of pre-season is starting to give way to serious business. 

Questions remain in abundance though with Saints yet to win in pre-season while scoring just once. Back-to-back 0-0 draws have reinforced the need for extra firepower up front while defensively, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have looked (perhaps surprisingly) solid.

The arrival of 19-year-old striker Sekou Mara from Bordeaux should give Saints a bit of extra oomph going forward but Hasenhuttl has made it clear that he does not expect the youngster to be the final attacking addition of the window.

Thus far Saints have brought in goalkeepers Gavin Bazunu and Mateusz Lis, centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap and midfielders Romeo Lavia and Joe Aribo along with the aforementioned Mara.

Will Smallbone - on loan to Stoke City - is the only departure from a first-team playing squad that appears significantly stronger than the one that finished last season - albeit with more work needed to be done.

The Daily Echo received responses from nearly 1500 Saints fans as to how they think their team will fare this season - and while it is important to note that this is just a small sub-section of the Southampton community - it is interesting to see where confidence lies with Tottenham Hotspur on the first day of the season fast approaching.

Cautious optimism is the phrase that might best encapsulate the feelings of those who voted with more than 70% believing Saints will finish the season in the bottom half of the table but avoid relegation. Just 8.2% of respondents felt relegation is on the cards for Hasenhuttl’s side this season while 17.2% believe a first top-ten finish under the Austrian will occur in the 2022/23 campaign.

Daily Echo:

4.1% are feeling the optimism of Saints’ youthful rebuild this summer, believing the club will finish in a European place.

Understandably, many fans are unsure of what to expect. Saints are going into the season with an incredibly young and untested squad, lacking in Premier League experience. There’s no doubt a lot of talent in Saints’ ranks but there also isn’t the top-flight know-how many supporters were hoping would have been added to the squad that stumbled over the line last season.

Aribo is the eldest of Saints’ signings at 26-year-old while the rest are all 20 or younger (excluding Lis who is expected to depart on loan). It’s no doubt a major risk from the Saints hierarchy investing so heavily in youth, but it also means there is exciting and unknown potential within this group.

It's clear that supporters feel there is not enough goals in the squad while depth at the full-back position is another major area of concern. With just over a month left in the transfer window, the club's ability to reinforce these positions of need will no doubt affect confidence from fans heading into the new season.

Each month, the Daily Echo will be doing a new ‘Confidence Check’ to see how fans are feeling.

Below are some responses to this first pilot edition, but we would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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