Southampton’s B team begin their 2022/23 Premier League 2 campaign with a trip to Nottingham Forest on Monday night.
Premier League 2
Monday 8th August, 7pm BST
After a resurgent second half of the campaign that led to a comfortable mid-table finish last season, Saints’ youngsters will be looking to continue their trajectory towards the top of Division Two.
Taking eight games to claim their first league win in 2021/22, Dave Horseman’s side will head to the Midlands looking to build some early momentum, built off the back of an encouraging pre-season.
Winning their last two warm-up fixtures scoring five goals, Saints recorded victories over AFC Totton and Watford, with a draw against National League Eastleigh meaning there are early signs of encouragement.
When the two sides met in February, Southampton ran out comfortable victors with a 4-2 win at St Mary’s.
Racing into a three-goal lead courtesy of strikes from Jayden Smith, Kazeem Olaigbe and Luke Pearce, the hosts survived a spirited fightback from Forest to put the game beyond doubt with Pearce’s second of the day in stoppage time.
The reverse fixture last August was a cagier affair, with neither side able to break the deadlock.
"We can't wait for the season to start now and to get our regular programme and to go after achieving something in the league," said Dave Horseman.
"If we keep a fit squad, we should be at least in the play-offs with this group and if we’re not, it’ll be because there are some really good teams in there because there won’t be many better than us if we can keep them fit.
“We haven’t got the biggest squad, but we’ve got quite a lot of quality and in key areas, certainly the sixes and the nines, we’ve got two or three that will be fighting it out for a couple of places, so there will be one or two disappointed on the bench but they’ve put themselves in a positive position.
"At centre-back we're reasonably strong as well. We managed to get everybody good game time and sometimes in pre-season that can maybe reflect in scores or disjointed performances, but to get 90 minutes into the legs is something we were desperate for."