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Leicester City 11/12 Opponents Preview – Southampton

I now only have three Npower Championship previews remaining including this one, until I eventually finish my long task of completing all my thoughts on every one of Leicester City’s 11/12 opponents. In this particular preview I now turn my attentions to a newly promoted side, south coast side Southampton managed to bounce back into the second tier of English football after securing promotion last season, now one of this season’s early favourites can the Saints secure yet another promotion under the guidance of Nigel Adkins…

Southampton Preview
Southampton eventually found promotion back to the second tier of English football in 10/11, after being promoted after a two year absence away from the Championship. With the Saints gradually coming back to form, they will be hoping that they can maintain their development amongst the team, with Southampton one of the current outsiders for promotion, many betting companies believe that Nigel Adkins side could be the surprise package of the 2011/2012 Championship campaign. People shouldn’t underestimate Southampton’s ability, despite struggling financially in the past and demising into the third tier the Saints have always had potential. This potential could well arise this season, with plenty of talented youngsters in their side and experience in the back four, Nigel Adkins will be happy with the progression he has made at St Marys. Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain have huge seasons ahead of them, while Rickie Lambert will need to match the capability he showed while playing in League One. This could be an enjoyable season if you’re a Southampton fan.

Key Players
With many Southampton players set to prove their value at Championship level, players like Dean Hammond, Rickie Lambert and teenage sensation Alex Oxlade Chamberlain will be dipping into the unknown. The trio are highly talented players who all played an instrumental part in Southampton’s 10/11 promotion season; Alex Oxlade Chamberlain though is the player who caught most of the headlines, with Premier League giants Arsenal supposedly tracking his services, a dream move to the promise land could well happen sooner or later for the 17 year old. Oxlade Chamberlain was difficult to handle for many opposition defences last season, full of pace and skill the young prodigy has a big campaign ahead of him. Now stepping up a league this is Oxlade Chamberlain’s vital chance to prove, that he is one of the most talented players in English football. Rickie Lambert is a robust figure who proved to be one of the best goalscorers in League One; so far Lambert hasn’t shown his potential at Championship level, and with many opposition fans suggesting that Lambert is a player who could struggle to adapt to the Npower Championship, but the 29 year old will definitely endure the challenge of potential critics. I strongly disagree on the aspect of potential failure, due to the fact that Lambert is a strong versatile forward who can score a wide range of different goals. This is his time to shine; will Lambert make an impact in the Npower Championshp this season? Finally nobody can do a preview without mentioning Adam Lallana, a great dribbler of the ball with a precise technique the 23 year old midfielder is noted by fans as one of their most influential players. Lallana on his day is a highly dangerous talent, he can single handily win Southampton games this season as like Lambert, he also has to prove a point at a higher level.

Manager – Nigel Adkins
As the current manager of Southampton a lot is rising on the outcome of Nigel Adkins, this is potentially his biggest task to date as a football league manager, as newly promoted Southampton are are one of the early favourites for promotion. A lot has been pinned on Adkins to make this a successive season; however only managing an ordinary footballing side in Scunthorpe for four years, the change in contrast needs to be held with perfection. This season will show Adkins true colours, will he be a manager who can produce the goods, or will the pressure get to his head. This is a big season for the fans of Southampton football club, as many people expect them to finish in the top half of the division.

Ins and Outs
Ins – Jack Cork(Chelsea), Steve De Ridder(De Graafschap)

Outs – Oscar Gobern(Huddersfield), Callum McNish(Released), Anthony Pulis(Released)

Overall Thoughts
Southampton in my view will have a sutstainable Championship campaign this season, despite being predicted for big things personally I cannot see them mounting a play-off challenge. Signing Jack Cork is a tremendous piece of business, but they haven’t added any more players which could be a slight downfall to these hopes. A mid-table finish is highly possible for Southampton this season, they need to reinstate their feet back into the second tier and from then on hopefully cement their place amongst the top six in future campaigns. Prediction – 15th

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