|Saints V Udinese The Preview|
Fri 10th Aug 2012 07:59
Saints take on Italian Serie A team Udinese in the last of their pre season friendlies on Saturday evening.
Once again its hard to see what side Nigel dkins will put out for his final warm uip game before the return to the Premier League, well the final public one at least.
Its fair to say that most Saints supporters would have been expecting at least a couple more additions to the squad by now and the worry will now be that unless Saints reveal a signing or two before close of play on Friday, then they could now face the possibility that when they face Man City on Sunday week there could be a new face or two in the side who will literally be pulling on a Saints shirt and playing with their colleagues for the first time.
This being the case its a fair assumption that Nigel Adkins will be sticking pretty much to the format that he has in most of the other friendlies, with around twenty players being used during the game, perhaps the basis of the formation and side he might pick for the opener playing in the first half, followed by a plethora of changed both at the break and during the second period.
I would imagine that by now the manager has a very good idea of what he considers to be his starting XI for the trip North next weekend, however he does have a few unanswered questions assuming that he does not manage to bring in any new faces in the next seven days.
It looks very much like he is preferring a more fluid formation for next season rather than a rigid 4-4-2, however that does pose him a problem, this relies on Rickie Lambert as a target man up front, firstly if he should be injured or unavailable for any reason, we havent an obvious replacement, Guly is the nearest in that he is a big strong player and Rodriguez a possibility, but in truth a different type of player than Lambert and inexpierenced, but secondly and perhaps more worryingly, if Lambert continues to fail to find his form, then what does the manager do, stick with him or change the playing style.
The Udinese match is perhaps for Rickie Lambert more important than any other player, given that so far in pre season he has looked very sluggish, there are many reasons being given across internet message boards for the cause of this, including that it all may be part of a masterplan to bring him to fitness and form just at the seasons start, I certainly hope this one is correct, otherwise i fear for our tactics next term if Lambert doesnt find his form.
The other big questions for Adkins are who will play out wide, at the moment he seems to be giving Jason Puncheon every chance to play his way into contention, I must be honest though personally I dont see Puncheon as being good enough and i think Adkins feels the same way, if we dont bring anyone in I would expect the wide berths at Man City to be filled by Rodriguez and Guly.
For those going on Saturday evening Im sure they will see an entertaining game but as in the other pre season games, its all about Nigel Adkins finding out a few things rather than a competitive fixture, I therefore would be surprised if the crowd numbers much more than the turn out for Wolverhampton Wanderers
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