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Southampton 2 v 1 West Bromwich Albion
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 11th November 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton V West Bromwich Albion The Preview
Friday, 10th Nov 2023 07:45

It's a promotion six pointer at St Mary's as Saints look to put distance between themselves and 5th placed West Brom, it is a big test, but one that the team are very capable of coming through after their past month or so's results.

As I have mentioned getting promoted is all about grinding out results and keeping going, the Baggies have done just that in recent weeks and in their last 5 games they have secured just one point less that ourselves.

The Championship is still very congested going into this weekend, although the top two are still a fair way ahead, from Leeds in 3rd place on 28 points to Middlesbrough on 22 in 12th, there are only six points.

But Saints can go into this game with confidence, not just because of a great 7 game run, but also because we now have a very efficient way of playing these days, that we are getting better at with each week, add to that the potential first appearance of Ross Stewart and there is much to hope for in this fixture.

Russell Martin seems to have got the foundations of his preferred starting XI in place and I think it could well have been a 3rd game unchanged, had it not been for the suspension of Jan Bednarek.

That is what most Saints supporters will be looking for when the team is announced at 2pm on Saturday, who will be slotting in the centre of the back four.

I see there being only two real options, Mason Holgate I think is the most likeliest candidate, he has the experience having played the position in the Premier League for Everton.

Shea Charles could be in the frame, but he lacks experience at this level in the centre of the defence, so I feel that he will be on the bench again.

The strength though is the quality on the bench, most of our bench could put a good case forward to start a game and it is this that sees us home with so many late goals, we bring on players who can change games rather than those who just bring fresh legs rather than genuine improvement.

This is what will see us through a long winter, when you have quality and proven experience such as Ryan Fraser, Shea Charles, Ryan Manning, Che Adams, Joe Aribo, Sam Edozie and of course Ross Stewart whom I expect to be on the bench.

Not to mention other squad players such as Sam Amo-Ameyaw & Sekou Mara.

This is where we have the edge over our rivals.

West Brom are of course no mugs and have experience of their own on the bench such as Erik Pieters, a veteran of many games for Stoke and indeed Burnley in the premier League, but at 35 he is no spring chicken and could be at risk of being done for pace with the high energy Saints attackers.

Likewise Matt Phillips who will turn 33 before the season ends.

So Saints can go into this fixture with confidence and hopefully take another step forward towards promotion, however we have to remember that we are a side that scores late goals and is never beaten, that is no coincidence and hopefully the fans will play a part late in the game if we have to chase it.

It looks like another virtually full house at St Mary's indeed this is likely to be the highest crowd for a home game against the Baggies in 7 meetings in the Premier League since they beat us at home in April 2013 in front of 31,946.

Photo: Action Images

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SaintPaulVW added 08:09 - Nov 10
At least with someone being suspended there is time to properly prepare the replacement.

Looking forward to what could be a great contest between 2 good sides.


Bowlercow added 17:46 - Nov 10
Glad I'm not a betting man cos this one is to close to call but I'm really looking forward to it

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