Two first-half goals for Danny Ings ensured Saints headed into their upcoming pre-season camps in Dublin and Macau with a comfortable 3-1 win over Preston on Saturday.
The Saints striker – scorer of eight goals for the club last term – got up and running this time around to continue the strong momentum behind the squad ahead of their Premier League opener against Burnley on 10 August, coming through unscathed against competitive opposition at Deepdale.
“We knew Preston were a good side and that it would be a test today, he said.” It was a good game to implement what we had been working on over the past couple of weeks and we showed that.
“We’re feeling fit, we’re getting better every game; we’re trying to put things into our game that the manager has been teaching us and the lads are working as hard as they can to do so.”
Both of Ings’s goals were the result of intelligence and diligence in his movement off the ball and, perhaps, a small degree of fortune; the first, a block with his hip on goalkeeper Connor Ripley’s attempted clearance, the second a firm shoulder and attempted header on Ryan Bertrand’s cross after a darting run to the near post.
They all count at any stage of the season for strikers but none more so than for Saints’ number nine who is hungry to hit the ground running after an injury-affected debut season for his boyhood club.
“I wanted to close down the keeper and I was lucky that it came off my quad and hip to then go over him, they all count,” he added. “I actually didn’t head the second one either, it came off my shoulder. I went to power it with my head and again, I was happy to see it go in.”