The city of Southampton believes. A feeling of optimism and hope is bubbling around this historic city as the Saints continued their impressive march towards the golden gates of the Premier League.
Saints recorded a 9th straight win at St Marys to maintain their 100% record at home this season. They swept Brighton 3-0, a Ricky Lambert hat-trick killing off the side that beat the Saints to the League One title last season.
However the table tells a different story this time around, as Southampton sit on the top of the Championship pile with a five point gap that separates themselves from the Hammers in second place, and look odds on favourites to make a dramatic return to the league that once was their home for 27 years.
Their first season in the newly rebranded Championship ended in haunting fashion, as the Saints suffered a humiliating back to back relegation to League One. After years of rebuilding, the Reds emerged out of League One as runners-up with the help of Super Saint Rickie Lambert who scored 51 goals in his two seasons. His form’s continued into this season, scoring 12 goals in the 17 appearances he has made this season.
This time last season, QPR beat Cardiff City 2-1 to go five points clear of their second place rivals. The Hoops went on to claim the Championship title, and the city of Southampton believes that the Saints can replicate this.
Alan, 23, from Totton believes that the south coast side have the depth to be promoted to the big time. “Yes, I feel Nigel Adkins has got the squad playing good attacking football and the team spirit is superb. Going forward we look outstanding and defensively just as good.” Barry from Eastleigh agrees with Alan. “There’s no reason why not. We have had a great start to the season and have also managed to beat West Ham. The only thing is that we need to keep the likes of Lallana and Lambert fit and keep hold of them during the transfer window.”
However Ben, 31, from St Marys thinks that the Reds could settle for the play-offs. “Realistically, we are play-off candidates without a shadow of a doubt. It’s too early to tell if we will get promoted automatically but if we play with the team spirit and attacking performances we’ve been producing then we’ll have one foot in the Premier League.”
Norwich City won back to back promotions to the Premier League last season, and one student from Solent University believes that the Saints can duplicate the Canaries accomplishment.“I’m a lifelong Saints fan but I can’t see us winning the league. There are many strong teams and we haven’t had our slump yet. But I think we are strong enough candidates for automatic promotion and definite playoff contenders. Norwich got back to back promotions and we have the manager and the squad to achieve this.”
Next up for Southampton is a short trip to Ashton gate where they’ll face Championship strugglers Bristol City this coming Saturday.