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Promotion Battle Is Personal Between Southampton And Leeds Bosses
Friday, 26th Jan 2024 10:01

Saints assistant manager Matt Gill was deputising for Russell Martin in this weeks press conference and he has revealed that for Southampton manager and his Leeds United counterpart Daniel Farke this promotion race might be a little personal.

Matt Gill was in front of the media on Thursday when he replaced Russell Martin for the press conference leading up to the Watford game and he revealed that his relationship with the Southampton manager dates back to the time when they were both at Norwich City and that their boss at the time was now Leeds manager Daniel Farke.

Martin was heading into the twilight of his career when Farke arrived at Carrow Road in 2017 and the senior man in the dressing room and the club captain and he had signed a new contract at the club in the summer of 2017 shortly after Farke's arrival.

But the following season would not go well, Martin would captain the side in it's first 5 games of the season, but these would be his last 5 games for the club, Matt Gill takes up the story speaking to The Daily Echo

In 2017/18 Gill was working as coach to the Canaries U23 side and after those opening 5 games Russell Martin soon found himself exiled to that squad.

"Russell and Daniel (Farke) didn't quite see eye to eye," Gill admitted.

"I always make this joke that when he came to play in my team, we had to have a deeper line because he couldn't run anymore.

"It was him and Steven Naismith at the time, they made my job easier by setting an example to the young lads every day."

But although Gill jokes about their time spent together a serious rift had appeared between the Club captain and the manager and it seems that as sometimes happens, a new manager has to assert his authority in the dressing room and thus Martin was despatched to training with the U23 squad, playing 7 games in the Premier League 2 whilst waiting for the January transfer window where he joined Rangers in the SPL for the remainder of the season.

It seems that Martin & Gill found they shared a common view in tactics and training and during his time in the U23's spent time discussing it.

They stayed in touch after Martin had left Carrow Road, firstly in 2018/19 when he joined Walsall on loan and then when he joined MK Dons as a player and then subsequently became manager.

Gill continues:

"We had separated for a bit but an opportunity arose to join Russell at MK and we have spent 10 hours a day together ever since.

"It is probably one of my jobs to challenge Russell as much as I can and Colin Calderwood is in the building to do that now too."

"We respect each other and we want to do well for each other - it has been a journey, it is friendship and we want that journey to continue."

So it seems that there is no love lost between Russell Martin & Daniel Farke, such a big rift might be hard for both men to forgive and forget, but they are professionals and these things happen in football and can be put to one side.

For Farke it was just what he had to do to assert his authority as a manager at a new club, but for Martin it probably was more personal, he was club captain at Norwich, a club where he would make over 300 appearances and he suddenly found himself out in the cold, I am sure that he will have moved on from his personal feelings at the time, but it will drive him on for this season, what better way to have the final say than by beating Farke & Leeds to an automatic promotion spot.

Hopefully that will give him an added incentive, if he needs one, to stay focused and drive Southampton Football Club forward, certainly Saints seemed more fired up back in September when they began the current 20 game unbeaten run in the League with a 3-1 win over Farke's Leeds United.

It will be ironical though that Saints gain could be Leeds loss and all because of an event that happened almost 7 years ago at Norwich City.

Photo: Action Images

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Bowlercow added 11:01 - Jan 26
It could also explain why he trys to shoe horn in Jack Stevens

SaintPaulVW added 12:36 - Jan 26
Could be fireworks at last game of the season....

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