NIGEL Adkins has so far signed two new players for Saints’ Premier League return, with a third expected to arrive soon.

And it’s certainly safe to say he is only halfway through his transfer preparations.

The St Mary’s boss has so far brought in a striker, a central midfielder and a left back.

It could be argued that Saints didn’t need to sign anyone in those three positions.

That is not the case elsewhere.

Adkins is also looking to bring in a goalkeeper, a centre half and a winger.

The goalkeeper we know about as Saints’ interest in Birmingham youngster Jack Butland is no secret.

But what would be fascinating to know is whether Adkins, a former keeper himself lest we forget, is aiming just to bring Butland in as his new No 1 or just to learn from Kelvin Davis, who certainly deserves the chance to start 2012/13 as the first choice keeper.

A central defender has to be a priority as Adkins only has two experienced men to select from.

And neither Jose Fonte or Jos Hooiveld have ever played in the Premier League.

That is also the case for the only other centre half in Adkins’ squad with first team experience – Dan Seaborne.

Of course, there are huge question marks over Seaborne, who hasn’t played a competitive game since suffering a serious head injury away from the football field last August.

At the moment, though, he is the only back-up man to Fonte and Hooiveld with Radhi Jadhi retired and Aaron Martin loaned to Crystal Palace for the season.

Further up the pitch, Adkins is also on the look-out for someone to provide some serious pace out wide and a creative cutting edge.

Pace is more important in the top flight than ever before, and it is something the Saints squad is not that well blessed with, certainly not when it comes to those who should be regular members of the Premier League squad.

Apart from needing to bring some more new faces in, Adkins will soon have to decide who to move on.

There are several players who appear to have little future at the club.

Strikers Lee Barnard and Jonathan Forte are now well down the pecking order after record signing Jay Rodriguez’s arrival, while Jason Puncheon’s strange St Mary’s career must end soon – surely.

And what of Dean Hammond’s future following the signing of Northern Ireland international Steven Davis to bolster an area where the likes of Jack Cork, Morgan Schneiderlin and Richard Chaplow are also battling away for places?

Left backs Ryan Dickson, pictured below, and Dan Harding must also be wondering where their futures lie due to Alexander Buttner’s impending arrival.

Some of those players mentioned must be moved on, certainly if Saints are serious – and they appear to be – about wanting to give their best youngsters a chance to make a good impression.

There is one thing between having a good 25-man squad for the coming season, but there is no point having players around the club who have no chance of getting a game.

Far better to try and cash in on some of them, though Saints must also be realistic with some of their demands – ie, is there much point putting a large price tag around the neck of someone like Puncheon?

A priority needs to be reducing the squad, in order to make space for the signings Adkins believes can play a big part in Saints making an impression in the first season back rubbing shoulders with the elite.