It’s a third successive Snows Stadium fixture for Southampton’s B team this weekend, with the visit of Manchester United in Premier League 2 on Saturday.
Saints B vs Manchester United
Premier League 2
Saturday 27th February, 2pm GMT
Saints B team made it just one defeat in four last time out in Premier League 2 after a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Derby County.
Kazeem Olaigbe scored the only goal of the game, and his second in the last three games, just after the break as Dave Horseman’s side showed their abilities at both ends of the pitch to secure all three points.
The result put Saints within a point of Leicester City with three games in hand over the Foxes.
Manchester United have fielded a mixture of different line-ups in Premier League 2 lately, notably overseeing the rise of talented youngster Amad Diallo within their ranks in recent weeks and heaping the rewards for doing so.
Last time out, however, they suffered defeat at the hands of Everton, but remain fifth and just three points off of second.
It was a tight affair between two well-matched sides when Saints and Manchester United met earlier in the season.
United took the lead against the run of play through Anthony Elanga before Saints looked certain to grab to an equaliser.
But the hosts dealt another hammer blow a minute into the second half, Facundo Pellistri with United’s second.
Saints came back, halving the lead in the 52nd minute through Michael Obafemi, before United put the result beyond all doubt in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Goalkeeper Jack Bycroft, who recently returned to the Saints B team set-up following a loan spell at National League side Weymouth, was integral in last weekend’s win over Derby.
The keeper made a string of key saves in both halves in order to keep the waves of Derby attacks at bay.
“It was a massive three points” he said following the game. “Think we showed good character in a young group of boys and paid into the first team philosophy, which paid off as you can see.”
“It was a big learning curve for myself with proper men’s football [in the National League]. I think I have developed as a player and a person as well.
“United have some big players but if we can do it against Derby we can do it against them. I back the team, I back the staff and I believe in what we do.”
Last weekend’s result was one which rightfully pleased manager Horseman after a good turn of form since the new year with a new group.
But the boss stated his is wary of the next test coming up this weekend.
“It feels really good,” he said following the Derby win. “I’m really pleased for the players because we’ve had a really good week training, not just this week but for weeks and weeks and weeks.
“In a funny way to win 1-0 and have to scrap it a bit for the last ten minutes actually makes it feel a bit better for the players.
“Really pleased for the boys because it’s nothing more than they deserve.”
“The games don’t get easier do they? A few weeks ago Man United’s team cost a few million pounds and they took Blackburn apart. I think they scored six in two games.
“I don’t know what sort of team they’ll have out but the way they set up I don’t think that makes a difference.
“We love our style, we’re proud of it. The counter pressing means it’s difficult for anyone to counter it.
“It will be a real tough challenge, and a different type of challenge to today, but one that we’re looking forward to.
“If we get the details right this week, we’ll give them a good go.”