Nigel Adkins says Saints’ inner confidence comes from their potency in front of goal.
The gaffer has seen the goals shared around his team this season, and it’s those threats from all over the pitch that he says, will cause any opponent problems in the Barclays Premier League.
“We’ve had 13 different goal scorers this season so we’ve got goals throughout the team, but the important thing for us is can we build on the clean sheet from the last game against Newcastle,” Adkins told Saints Player ahead of Wednesday match against Norwich City at St Mary’s.
“We had a steady and stable back four and goalkeeper which is something we haven’t had since the start of the campaign due to injuries, and the players are all working very hard as a team together.
“The players are working very hard on the training ground and what we’ve got is a group of players who are getting the just rewards for putting the work in home and away.
“We’ve accustomed ourselves very quickly the demands of the Premier League, and we talk about lessons learned throughout the campaign and the players are working very, very hard to improve. There’s a forward momentum about ourselves, and a growing belief about everybody.
“Sunday’s performance was really good,” he stressed. “We’ve got Gaston Ramirez, Adam Lallana, and Jason Puncheon with Rickie Lambert, and there was a good solid base behind them as a platform for some great attacking football that got the supporters off their feet at the weekend.”
One of the form teams in the league visit St Mary’s on Wednesday night, with Saints drawing similarities to Norwich City for the way in which they have adapted to the top-flight on the back of recent promotions.
“It just emphasises that there are good players out there,” Adkins highlighted. “You talk about Norwich City who’ve had back-to-back promotions and so have we.
“Five of the lads who started for us recently were with us in League One and it just shows if you put them in the right mind and give them the opportunity then how far they can actually go, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were any more players who are plying their trade in League One or the Championship that can actually go on to play at the highest level.
“It’s the hardest way to go because you’re actually jumping two divisions very, very quickly. We’ve got five players who played in League One who play for us regularly in the Premier League and there are several more players who are still here from that period, so it’s probably the hardest thing to go and do, but it is possible, and with Norwich staying up it obviously gives you a lot of belief.”
Saints lifted themselves out of the relegation zone thanks to Sunday’s win at St Mary’s, but Nigel says that league position is not something he’s concentrating on at the moment.
“I’ll be honest with you we’ve not looked at it as we know it’s going to fluctuate so we’ve just to concentrate on our performances,” he said. “We give ourselves an opportunity to keep on winning games if we’re scoring at one end and keeping them out at the other.
“Three teams got promoted before us last season and stayed up so it just shows you that it is possible to go and do it. If you look at it, previously the big thing was getting promoted but then being relegated again, but you need belief and confidence that it is possible.
“We always think about the next game straightaway. The process is already place for the next game which is Norwich. The process that we’ve had since I’ve been here is to never get too high when we win and never get too low when we lose and keep a consistency about ourselves.”
Adkins also provided an update on his squad ahead of the game, confirming that both Danny Fox and Rickie Lambert are in training with the latter having come off in the second half of Sunday’s game.
“Daniel Fox missed the game on Sunday with a knee injury but he’s training so he’s close for Wednesday night - we’ll asses that one in the morning.
“Rickie Lambert came off on Sunday with a leg injury, but he’s been running around on the training ground, so we expect everyone else to be fit.”