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Preston North End 2 v 2 Southampton
SkyBet Championship
Wednesday, 25th October 2023 Kick-off 19:45
Southampton At Preston North End The Preview
Wednesday, 25th Oct 2023 07:45

Saints make their second 500 mile round trip in the space of four days, this time to Lancashire to take on Preston in a game that if we continue our good form could see us move into 3rd place.

The win at Hull showed us several things, firstly that we are very much a team to be feared in the final minutes of a game, this is because of our fitness and the mental attitude that we now have where a game is never over till the final whistle, but perhaps mainly because of the depth of our squad, in the final 20 minutes of a game when other sides are making changes to replace tired legs rather than to improve things, we are able to call on genuinely experienced and class players.

The team selection should be about Russell Martin keeping it simple, the foundation of the starting XI has now taken shape, it is about tweaking it and not making wholesale changes, Martin did that in terms of substitutions at Hull, he only made the final 3 changes in the last 5 minutes, however that will impact on this evening where he is asking his team to get out there again for another tough away game.

But it it perhaps not as tough as the table would have you believe, Preston start the night 1 point and 1 place above us, but they have picked up just 2 points in the last 5 games, their good form harks back to the period between the start of the season and 19th September, where they drew their opening game and then won 6 on the bounce, as mentioned in the 5 games since that date they have lost 3 and drawn 2.

Add to that they have injury issues and that should mean that we travel to Deepdale with confidence, rather than worrying about the opposition, we should let them worry about us.

A month ago we looked in trouble after 4 straight defeats, but the last two were only by one goal and in the case of the loss to Middlesbrough not deserved, since then we have built up a 4 game run that has seen 3 wins and a draw.

But having turned things round, we have to build on it, we need to make this week count and win at Deepdale and then beat Birmingham City at home on Saturday, if we do that then we will have truly posted a notice of intent to our promotion rivals.

Over the last few weeks Russell Martin has learnt a few harsh lessons and so have his players, some will say that the manager has changed his tactics, I would suggest it is not just the manager but the players also, Martin now knows what his players can and can't do, he is working with their strengths and not their limitations and the players are responding, they are adapting as the situation requires.

This is good to see and it has paid dividends.

So perhaps one or two changes tonight to rest tired legs and have them ready for Saturday, but in the Championship the games come thick and fast, so it is about take every game as it comes, win the one that is next and then worry about the following fixture.

Saints have turned things round in the last month, now for the next few weeks when hopefully at the end of it, we can really put pressure on the top two

Photo: Action Images

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saintpete01 added 12:55 - Oct 25

saintpete01 added 12:59 - Oct 25

Bowlercow added 14:22 - Oct 25
After last night's games the table now says this is a must win game if we want to stay within shouting distance
It really is a better feeling this season when we are going into games knowing we have a chance

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