Thursday, 24 July 2014

New look Saints set to visit Dean Court

Southampton are the first Premier League outfit to come to the Goldsands Stadium this pre-season and they will be an inviting prospect with their new line up against the Cherries. Ronald Koeman has had a difficult start to his Southampton appointment not least because of Croatian World Cup player, Dejan Lovren's desire to leave the club following the high profile sales of Shaw, Lallana and Lambert that have swollen the club's coffers by some £57m. Lovren's asking price has reportedly been put at £20m with Liverpool still said to be interested in him. 

There are signs that the rebuilding is already under way though at St Mary's with the arrival of Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord. The spending at Southampton has only just started you would think though and having also signed Dusan Tadic from FC Twente for an estimated £10.9m more talent will surely come into St Mary's before the start of then season. They have also secured the services of Liverpool legend Sammy Lee in the coaching staff and working with Koeman means that the Saints have a lot of experience behind them. But the Saint's seem to have failed in attempts to lure former-Cherry Danny Ings to the club.

This really is a new era for the Saints now that Cortese and Pochettino have left the club, but there is no time for Koeman to sit back because the Premier League is unforgiving and he'll be measured by his success on the pitch not just in his signings. The game against AFCB will give fans of both clubs a feel for how well pre-season has benefited the clubs and let's face it neither team will want to lose this game even if it is only a friendly.

The Saints are in good form having beaten Belgian side Sporting Hasselt 6-0 on 17 July and they also beat Dutch side EHC Hoensbroek  4-0 on 15 July. Their most recent outing was a 0-1 away win against Swindon Town on Monday when Hooiveild got the winner. Six recognised first team players began that match - Nathaniel Clyne, Jose Fonte, Graziano Pelle, James Ward-Prowse, Jack Cork and Jos Hooiveld, on the bench was Maya Yoshida and Billy Sharp. Whether Koeman changes the team much for the visit to Bournemouth remains to be seen but I would expect a strong Saint's team.

Well done to the AFCB 11 who beat Brighton's U21's 1-2 yesterday, that comes after a -14 win against QPR's U18 team last Saturday and welcome to the club Aly Coulibaly. 

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