Saints psyched-up for top tier crusade
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is aiming for more than just survival as the club prepares for its first top-flight fixture in seven years, writes Simon Peach.
The south coast side have been on a turbulent ride since relegation from the Premier League in 2005 and three years ago were on the brink of bankruptcy. The club survived and moved on, with back-to-back promotions putting them back in the top tier.
They kick off their campaign at champions Manchester City today (4pm) and Adkins will not be taking life at the top for granted.
“We want to be very ambitious and have said that from the start,” he said. “We worked very hard through the course of the summer to identify players. Normally it is in the last couple of days [of the transfer window] where the majority of the transfers are done. I’d like to think Southampton would be one of the clubs that may make one, two or three more additions into the group that we’ve got.”
Bologna’s Gaston Ramirez and Blackpool’s Matt Phillips are amongst those Adkins is trying to bring to the club before the end of the month.
As well as adding wide men, the Saints boss has made no secret of his desire to shore up the central defence, but has been thwarted so far.
“I’d like to get one in to start off but if we can get two even better,” Adkins said.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was due to run the rule over new signing Jack Rodwell before deciding the extent of the 21-year-old’s potential involvement against the Saints. The former Everton player has struggled with hamstring problems in recent times.
Mancini will also assess the fitness of goalkeeper Joe Hart, while defender Micah Richards (ankle) and midfielder Gareth Barry (abdominal problem) are definitely out.
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