SAINTS players have already started working towards the new season, with preparations expected to increase this week. 

Russell Martin's squad will be looking to shake off their summer cobwebs and build fitness ahead of the Premier League season getting started next month.

Here are five things we are excited to see during pre-season...

Ross Stewart and Juan Larios fit and firing

The 2023/24 season was tough for Ross Stewart. Having joined Saints on deadline day, the Scot had to wait until November before making his debut due to injury.

He remained in the side for just one more game before a new injury, this time a hamstring issue, saw him return to the physio room.

He was finally deemed fit again at the tail end of the season before coming on from the bench at Leeds United. He repeated that in the playoff semi-final at West Brom.

However, he played no further part in the playoffs having suffered a whack in the first leg and remained as an unused substitute at St Mary's and Wembley.

This summer's pre-season is a chance for the 27 year old to gain some momentum in a Saints shirt for the first time.

He has been pictured among the first group of players back at Staplewood, as was Juan Larios, who has spent even longer out injured.

Larios, 20, last played for Southampton's senior team in November 2022, over 600 days ago.

The Spaniard has suffered injury setbacks along the way and will be hoping to take steps closer to an onfield return.

Juan Larios has been out injured since November 2022Juan Larios has been out injured since November 2022 (Image: Richard Crease)

Premier League tactical hints

Unlike league fixtures where a team's approach is built around securing the desired result, pre-season is a chance for managers to test new things. 

Martin was not scared to alter things last season, his decision to switch to a back three towards the end of the campaign paid dividends.

At present, Southampton have announced four friendlies, with more to come. Those games serve as an opportunity to see how they may lineup come August 17 at Newcastle.

The boss may look to trial a new system or slight tweaks aimed at improving their chances in a tougher division.

A lack of involvement from some players may also hint at where their future lies with the club.

New signings taking their first steps in red and white

Four new names have already been signed ahead of the new campaign.

Adam Lallana and Charlie Taylor have joined on free transfers while Ronnie Edwards and Nathan Wood have signed for £3million each.

With the exception of Lallana, pre-season will be the first opportunity for supporters to see Taylor, Edwards and Wood in the red and white of Saints.

Taylor's arrival has created competition for places at left-back. Edwards and Wood have added much-needed depth at centre-back.

On paper, all three newcomers appear to be suitable additions to Martin's system, pre-season will be an early sandbox to observe proof of that theory.

Charlie Taylor has joined Southampton on a free transfer (Image: Southampton FC) 

Locking horns with National League neighbours Eastleigh

Southampton's first pre-season fixture will see them take on local Vanarama National League outfit Eastleigh.

The Spitfires are managed by Saints legend Kelvin Davis, the former goalkeeper agreeing a three-year contract after his successful term as interim boss.

It's expected to be a good day out at the Silverlake Stadium, with Eastleigh set to deploy relaxed segregation and stewarding, due to the number of fans who support both sides.

The game will be a rare chance to see Southampton's first-team stars in the more intimate setting of non-league football.

It will also be a great opportunity for Eastleigh to drive interest ahead of their National League campaign.

Saints hero Kelvin Davis has taken charge at EastleighSaints hero Kelvin Davis has taken charge at Eastleigh (Image: Graham Scambler)

Youngsters assessed ahead of potential loans

Last season saw Sam Amo-Ameyaw play a major role in pre-season.

The young winger dazzled in friendly matches, earning him a chance to feature in the league and cup.

With time his involvement decreased, seeing the England youth international reduced to FA Cup outings and playing with the under-21s.

However, Amo-Ameyaw insisted he is "really and truly happy" with how his first two seasons on the south coast have gone.

Amo-Ameyaw spent the majority of last season training with the first team, as did Jayden Meghoma and Tyler Dibling. All three should continue doing that.

The Daily Echo understands that Amo-Ameyaw will be assessed in pre-season before a decision is made regarding a potential loan away from the club.

The upcoming friendlies will be a chance for Southampton's young starlets to put themselves at the fore of Martin's mind.

Sam Amo-Ameyaw and Tyler Dibling were given first team opportunities last seasonSam Amo-Ameyaw and Tyler Dibling were given first team opportunities last season (Image: Southampton FC)