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Southampton 5 v 3 Huddersfield Town
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 10th February 2024 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton V Huddersfield Town The Preview
Friday, 9th Feb 2024 08:39

The start of a 9 game run in the Championship over just 5 weeks that will sort out the wheat from the chafe in the promotion race, hopefully we have quantity & the quality in the squad to fare better than our rivals in this tough period.

Saints have come through 21 League games unbeaten and now they need to make it 22 against Huddersfield, the visitors arrive in good form having been unbeaten in the last four games, culminating in their 4-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday that has seen them pull 3 points clear of the relegation zone.

So this leaves Russell Dilemma, with 3 games in the next 6 days, the next two after this tough away games, does he risk resting some of his squad for this one.

The answer is I think that he will, I would not be surprised to see Jan Bednarek rested and Jack Stephens slotted in, in the centre of the park I think either Flynn Downes or Stuart Armstrong might well get a rest and Joe Rothwell come in and up front there could also be a change or two with David Brookes and Sam Edozie perhaps given a start.

So I will not be surprised to see up to 4 changes from last week's starting line up, given the two games we have coming up at Bristol City & West Brom away.

Some may be in disagreement with this and say take every game as it comes and play your strongest side, but our strength is our squad and with players able to come into the side with the quality of Rothwell, Brookes, Edozie and Stephens, we have a luxury that our rivals do not have, we need to make good use of it.

Huddersfield as mentioned are unbeaten in four and sit one point and 3 places above the relegation zone, however two of those games came against bottom 2 sides and the other pair against teams in the bottom 10, so although good results and much needed against the teams around them, in general this season they have been not done well against teams in the top half of the table, Leicester despatching them 4-1 at the King Power Stadium on New Years day.

We need to do just that against a team that at time of writing is yet to replace Darren Moore who was sacked on 29th January, that was seen as harsh give that Moore presided over the 3 straight draws in the unbeaten run, however there certainly seems to have been a positive response from the Huddersfield squad to the sacking as they destroyed Sheffield Wednesday just a few days later.

So they are not a side to be taken lightly, they are fighting to stay up and have something to play for as they showed when we drew 1-1 with them up in Yorkshire, when their 87th minute equaliser gave them a vital point after Adam Armstrong had given us a first half lead.

But I still think that we are going to have to mix and match for this game and perhaps to a lesser extent at Bristol City in order to avoid fatigue and injury, yes Huddersfield have something to play for but so do Brookes, Rothwell & Edozie and they are quality players who our visitors would love to have in their team.

There will be yet again another packed St Mary's, the game would have already been sold out, if Huddersfield had not sent back around 1,200 tickets from their allocation, as of Friday morning around 200 of these are still for sale along with a handful of seats in the Chapel End, it is likely that these seats will be sold today.

You can buy a ticket using this link. Southampton FC Online Ticket Sales

Photo: Action Images

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Jesus_02 added 10:14 - Feb 9
Jack Stephens is an issue for me 3rd choice CB and our club captain. He is just not the same standard as the other two.

I'm all for changes, but would prefer that they where made when we are 2 up. That said Stuart Armstrong is a valuable commodity that should be used wisely so rotating him to allow for higher energy spells makes sense and David Brooks needs game time and him and Fraser on either wing should enable us to dominate from the beginning.

A1079 added 10:30 - Feb 9
They will not be a walk over that is for sure and we will need not take silly chances with our selection. Aim to win this one and then worry about the next one.

Huddersfield away was an awful game and at that point (following the debacle at Sunderland and Middlesbro') I really could not see us as serious promotion candidates (though I was not calling for the manager to go as I knew we had to rebuild from the mess of last season). I have been proved wrong I am pleased to say but there is still a long way to go and no room for complacency. Leeds and Ipswich are not going to go away.

mgprobert added 10:41 - Feb 9
I'm afraid I have to agree with the Jack Stephens comment. He's a great guy and full of enthusiasm, but also a huge liability and an error about to happen... and that uncertainty can spread.

Bowlercow added 11:41 - Feb 9
Nick I don't think you can put Jack Stevphens and the word quality anywhere near each other but other than that I agree that rotation will be the key
I expect Fraser and Brooks to start v Huddersfield and Edozie and possibly Sam Amos to come on as subs
Stu Armstrong to start and Joe to come on as a sub v Huddersfield and the reverse against Bristol
Mara to start tomorrow with Adams Arma as a sub and again reversed on Tuesday
When he has these options it does highlight the quality we have

kenchilds70 added 11:48 - Feb 9
Although Im not a football manager Ive often wondered why teams dont try to "win" the game in the first and then at halftime make the changes to rest the players that have done the hard miles in the first half. Thus offering the ability, if in the lead to bloster weaker players. Maybe just changing two or three at halftime also leaves the manager the option of two or three changes if needed later in the game. Goalkeepers should never need resting. And some player thrive on games like JWP

davidargyll added 17:13 - Feb 9
To be fair to JS, I thought he did play well on Tuesday, he put in a shift and made a handful of killer passes.

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