|Saints V Watford The Preview|
Fri 24th Feb 2012 09:53
Its all well and good winning on your own turf week in week out but you have to do it away from home as well and to be blunt its about time Saints started.
Saints travel to Watford knowing that unless they start winning on the road then they are going to struggle to get automatic promotion, of course football isnt an exact science, but a look at any final table in the championship will show you that the promoted sides have all won 8 or more games on the road, of course Saints do have an exceptional home record which could mean they could get away with slightly less, but the start truth is on the road we have been poor, which beggars the question as to why a team can be so dominant one week and then so average to next when they leave the SO postcode.
The trip to Watford gives Saints just the opportunity they need tostart winning on the road, the Hornets sit comfortably mid table, in no real danger of going down and not about to trouble the play offs either, their home record is exactly what you would expect of a team in that position, they have won(7) slightly more than they have lost(5) at Vicarage Road drawing the other 4, so they are there for the taking.
The key is transferring our home dominance to another stadium, all four of our away wins have been against teams struggling we have to start killing off teams, I know i have been saying this for the last six months, but with good reason we just cant seem to step up a gear on our travels, we havent turned enough defeats into draws and enough draws into wins, when was the last time we popped up with a lst minute goal on the road to take three points when a draw looked likely, of course football is all ifs and buts, but what we dont want to do is look back at several key games and have regrets.
At Vicarage Road Nigel Adkins looks set to have virtually a full squad, Jos Hooiveld seems to be fit and raring to go, so there looks to be only two questions for the manager, the first is on the right of midfield, Guly has recovered from illness, does Adkins restore him to the line up or keep Richard Chaplow in there, the second is more crucial, Adkins is very cryptic in the pre match interviews saying he doesnt want the opposition to know if Frazer Richardson is fit or not, if he is fit then he will play, if he isnt quite there then Adkins will have to keep Dan Harding there, although he could with Guly back in contention opt to put Jack Cork there, in terms of continuity I would expect Harding to play though.
We have given too many points away on the road, we are now getting to the business end of the season, like last year we now need to be clinical, its all about having the psycological advaage, lets keep winning games and keep the chasing pack at bay and to to that we need to get the points on the board now rather than later, of course we cant win every game between now and the end of the season, but with eight away games left and only six at home its crystal clear that we have to win at least three of those eight to go up automatically.
Watford wont be easy, true they got walloped by Palace last weekend, but in the current form stakes they are one point ahead of us in the last six games, but 5pm on Saturday we need to have overtaken them or face looking back at too many clubs coming up on the rails than is close for comfort.
Nigel Adkins strategy in the January window was to sign attacking players and outscore the opposition, I can live with that as long as we do, but the real key on the road is being tight for 90 minutes and not switching off at a crucial moment and letting in soft goals, keep another clean sheet at Watfod and we can score thats for sure, on the road in two many games we havent been tough enough mentally to go out and bully the opposition, that now needs to change, when we visit teams like Watford we need to hjave the arrogance of a side who know they are good enough to win, we had it on most occasions in the run in last year, we now need to do it again.