FORWARD Adam Armstrong insists Saints are "focused on themselves" amid a nine-point gap with the Championship leaders.

Leicester City and Ipswich Town have earned 39 points from their first 16 league games, putting them clear of Southampton (30 points) in fourth place.

Both sides recorded wins over Russell Martin's side at St Mary's earlier this season on course to making the joint-best start to a Championship season after 16 games.

For comparison, last year's champions Burnley had earned 29 points by this point in the campaign, which was enough to see them top of the league.

Asked by the Echo if Saints are thinking about the teams above them in the table, the 26 year old pointed out the importance of taking things one game at a time.

“Obviously, we know they are there but we have to focus on ourselves. We went through that bad spell where we lost four games in a row. The lads have reacted brilliantly to that.

Daily Echo:

“To go eight games unbeaten shows that everyone in the group is working hard for each other. We are making last-minute tackles and Gav pulled off a worldie save in the final moments.

“That’s what we have got at the minute, things are going our way. As cliche as it is you’ve got to take every game as it comes."

Saints face Championship strugglers Huddersfield Town when they return to league action after the international break before consecutive home games against Bristol City and Cardiff City.

Their fixture schedule becomes hectic once more as the festive period approaches. Saints are set for another three-game week at the start of December. 

"Once you get to Christmas time the games come thick and fast," the skipper added. "You’ve got to make sure everyone is rearing to go.

"The table is going to change a lot between now and Christmas because there are a lot of games.

“Even when you get to January there will be a game every three days at some point. I know everybody says it, but you’ve got to stick to every game in this league.

“You can’t dwell on games because the next one is always around the corner. If we keep the squad that we have got fit we will be right up there.

Saints' attacking options have been boosted in recent weeks by deadline-day signing Ross Stewart's return to full fitness.

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The former Sunderland forward was subbed on in place of Armstrong for his debut in Southampton's 2-1 win over West Brom on Saturday.

“He’s excellent," Armstrong added when asked what he has made of the 27 year old so far. 

"I know him from Sunderland, It’s been hard for him to watch the team because of his injury but what a character he is.

"I thought he was brilliant when he came on. You’ve seen how many goals he scored when he was at Sunderland. He is going to be quality for us.”