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Sit Back, Wait, Watch And Hope Is All Southampton Can Do This Weekend
Friday, 15th Mar 2024 09:36

Saints have had an enforced mid season three week break enforced on them, none of it of their own making, so on the first blank weekend all they can do is sit back and hope that the three teams about them drop points and don't open up a gap.

The last thing that you need at the end of a tough season as it comes to a close, is to have a fixture backlog. but that is what Southampton are facing after a triple whammy of having the trip to Leicester postponed due to the Foxes involvement in the FA Cup followed by an international break, not helped by the fire next to St Mary's that postponed the Preston game.

Add to that a congested fixture list in April means that not only do they have three weeks off since beating Sunderland, but they not have had a Saturday home fixture for the 5 weeks since that game, it is far from ideal.

The enforced break can't be helped but it is not in our favour either, although there is one small gap in the rain clouds and that is hopefully both Kyle Walker Peters & Ryan Fraser will be fit again after injury and the fact is that Saints have a far bigger squad than our rivals.

That is a small blessing, but it is going to be needed, when Saints take on Middlesbrough there is then only 5 weeks left of the normal season left,, but we have to squeeze in 10 Championship games, whilst our rivals for automatic promotion, Leicester aside who will have 9, will only have 8 left to play.

It doesn't sound a big difference, but it means there is almost no respite, we will play weekend and then midweek for the first four weeks and then have just one midweek off, whether that will be needed or not though might already be sorted as it is the final week of the season before we travel to Leeds United on the final day.

If we are optimistic though, it could work in our favour, yes it will be a tough run in, but it could also allow us to get momentum and keep it going, we will have no time to stop and think, but we can get into a winning run and once the ball is running it keeps rolling.

But this weekend is one where all we can do is sit back, wait, watch and hope as Ipswich & Leeds play games.

The bad news is they are both playing at home and both against teams near the foot of the table.

First up is Ipswich V Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, the Owls have been on a good run and won 4 of their last 5 games before losing the last of them, this has pulled them up the table and they are now just a point behind the two clubs who sit just above the relegation zone, they can see light at the end of the tunnel and this will hopefully spur them on.

If Ipswich do win, then Saints will be 8 points behind the Tractor Boys, but with two games in hand, this is where the mental war begins, even if we win those two games we would still be two points behind and that would favour Ipswich, however should they draw or lose, then it gives Saints a massive boost.

After this game the focus shifts to Sunday when Leeds host Millwall, again as we know Millwall have picked up and they too are in reasonable form having won 3 and drawn the other of their last 4 games, a run that has seen them pull clear of the bottom 3.

However they are still looking over their shoulders , they start the weekend 5 points clear of both Huddersfield & Sheffield Wednesday who on 38 points are in the relegation zone, but things can change this weekend.

If Leeds beat Millwall then it is of course not good news for Saints, it will leave us 9 points behind with our two games in hand and that is a big gap and gives Leeds a big boost mentally, but as with the Ipswich game, defeat for the Yorkshire side against Millwall, would see us still just 6 points behind, but now with 2 games in hand.

So this weekend we just have to sit back and if we have a God, then pray to him, it is not in our own hands, but going forward it is very much in our own hands as we have to play both Ipswich & Leeds in those final 10 games.

This is not ideal, perhaps the harsh programme will end our automatic promotion hopes, but then again it might just be the catalyst to spark another unbeaten run that spurs us on to a top 2 finish.

The thing about being a football fan though is hope! most teams in the 92 League clubs only have that, they don't have an expectation of glory just the hope, but that is what keeps us going, the chance of victory and the chance of glory, that happens only rarely as a Southampton supporter, so when it comes up I grasp it with both hands, I enjoy the thrill of it, I don't spend my time worrying about it.

Photo: Action Images

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A1079 added 11:48 - Mar 15
Like you, I don't worry about it Nick. It will be what it will be. We can't control what we are not in control of. Whatever the outcome, by and large (there is the odd exception) I have enjoyed this season and the championship.

I would slightly argue that the suggested harsh programme may end our automatic promotion hopes. I think you can add in the start of the season and the recent wobble and I think most Saints fans expect that the play off's is our most realistic outcome.

underweststand added 13:40 - Mar 15
As A1079 has mentioned above there is nothing we can do to affect their games (except perhaps aside from the power of prayer). With no game this weekend we will now have two "spare games " over Leeds and Ipswich, who we have to paly against as well, but of course we must win them to have a chance of automatic qualification.
Maybe we should look forward to a quiet weekend and a bit of gardening?

Bowlercow added 14:17 - Mar 15
I have been away for 5 weeks so you also need to factor in my return to the stands
Always fancied getting promoted on a Webley day out

saintmark1976 added 15:53 - Mar 15
Bowlercow, it’s only football, win or lose there really is no need to shoot anybody.

InTimeAddedOn added 18:56 - Mar 15
saintmark 76, we could sit Bowlercow in the front row at Wembley and task him with berating the linesman, he could be our chief Heckler (shouting Koch at the lino when he makes a mistake) wearing a replica shirt numbered 416 of course ⚽️🙂

IanRC added 20:24 - Mar 15
Sure if it was Leicester or one of the other authorities’ favourites something would have been sorted out but of course they will not get their finger out for us. Hope results go our way and I will watch the lasses on Sunday, although they too have a lot to do to secure promotion.

saintmark1976 added 21:18 - Mar 15
InTimeAddedOn, it could be a very nervous afternoon for any player in the opposition named Smith or Weston. I’ll get my coat now.

InTimeAddedOn added 22:36 - Mar 15
Especially if it goes to extra time, then a shoot out 😂
I’ll get my coat as well…

JoeEgg added 07:39 - Mar 16
"Saints move joint top with comeback win at Leeds"

I just saw this headline!

The realised it was Rugby League!!

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