We start the week off with our regular round-up of news and stories from across the various levels at Southampton Football Club...
Saints return from Tenerife
Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl took his squad to the Spanish island for five days last week, putting them through some intense on-pitch sessions and a series of team and individual meetings to prepare them for the final 12 games of the season.
After the disappointment of losing at home to Cardiff in their last outing – a result that saw Saints slip back into the bottom three – midfielder Oriol Romeu felt the opportunity for the players to spend some significant time together and to work in a different environment was of great benefit.
"It's been all hard work, but things that needed to be done and things that we needed to do,” he said.
"They have been good training sessions, good exercises and I'm sure they will help us for the next matches.
"We've enjoyed great conditions, great facilities, and it's been good to be away also for a few days and to be able to work long hours as a team, with some double sessions, so it's been very positive and now we're looking forward to getting back and getting everything into the team as soon as possible.”
Saints Women keep it perfect
Southampton FC Women made it ten wins out of ten in the Southern Region Women's Premier Division, as they won 3-0 at New Milton Town on Sunday afternoon.
Marieanne Spacey-Cale's team continued to remain on course for the title, as they made it a perfect 30 points from 30.
They had to be patient for the breakthrough at Fawcetts Field, though, waiting until the 44th minute to open the scoring.
The goal came from Chloe Newton, who produced a smart finish from a loose ball after Shannon Sievwright had seen her initial shot blocked, before New Milton managed to repel a second effort.
It gave Saints a slender lead at half-time, and the visitors then gave themselves some breathing space on 69 minutes, as youngster Ella Morris, making only her second appearance for the first-team as she transitions from the Under-16s age group in the Regional Talent Club, scored a sensational solo goal.
The finishing touch to the scoreline was then applied seven minutes from time, as New Milton cleared a corner only as far as Phoebe Williams, who sent a volley flying back into the net for 3-0.
U23s extend lead at the top
Southampton's youngsters extended their lead at the top of Premier League 2 with a 2-1 success over Fulham at Staplewood Campus on Friday night.
A goal either side of the break earned maximum spoils; Will Smallbone broke the deadlock with a stunning first-time strike from range, before Jonathan Afolabi added to his mounting goal tally in the second period.
The match-winner last time out in the league against Manchester United, Afolabi looped a fine effort over Luca Ashby-Hammond five minutes after the restart, giving Saints some breathing room.
Nathan Tella, unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself, had a hand in the build-up to both goals, and could have put Saints out of sight before Fulham netted a lifeline 10 minutes from time through Jayden Harris.
Saints now sit three points clear of Wolves who they travel to face on Monday 11 March, a fixture that may have a significant say in the direction of the title.
Watford date to be confirmed
Following Watford’s victory over QPR in the Emirates FA Cup fifth round over the weekend, Saints’ away game against the Hornets – originally scheduled to be played on Saturday 16 March – is due to be rearranged as a result of their appearance in the cup’s quarter-finals.
The new date, and the appropriate ticket information, will be communicated in due course.
ePL representatives crowned on Thursday
With the ePremier League Grand Finals taking place in March, 32 fans descended on St Mary's for a chance to represent Saints on Thursday night. Two champions won through at the first ever eSports event to be broadcast live from the stadium, Owen Venn (Venn) and Reece Rusher (Rusher7x).
The professional FIFA players had already beat off the competition of thousands of online qualifiers to reach the club play-offs and will now fly the fly for the club at the tournament’s Grand Final on the weekend of 28-29 March.
Broadcast on Sky Sports at the Gfinity Arena, the inaugural final will see the top two players from all 20 Premier League clubs battle it out to be named the ePremierLeague champion.