Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Saints head to Rotterdam on Saturday evening on the final leg of their pre-season preparations on foreign soil.
Tomorrow’s meeting with Feyenoord at De Kuip comes off the back of a busy week spent across Macau and Dublin for Hasenhüttl who is looking forward to seeing his charges put to the test by a side who finished third in the Eredivisie last season.
“We have worked very hard so far in the first four weeks of pre-season to turn the last wheels and get prepared for a very tough campaign,” the Austrian said ahead of the travelling party’s departure from their Carton House training base.
“I think the guys are working very hard; I like the way they train, I like the way they are listening and I think we are in a very good way. We had a good trip back from Macau and we stayed in UK time so we could immediately continue working hard here in Dublin.”
Warm-up matches against SCR Altach, Preston and Guangzhou R&F in the last few weeks have given the Saints boss a chance to cast his eye over the entirety of his available playing squad, and tomorrow’s game represents another opportunity to do so before honing in on a possible starting line-up for the Premier League opener at Burnley on 10 August.
Combined with what he hopes will be a stern examination from Jaap Stam's team, Hasenhüttl is keen to take yet another important step towards that meeting with the Clarets at Turf Moor in two weeks’ time.
“We will again play with one team for 45 minutes and make some changes for the next 45 minutes like we did in the last few games. Against Koln, I think we will play longer with the first XI.
“It is a good chance for everybody to show up once again and I hope the opponent shows us a few problems because it would be good to show us a few things that don’t work in our shape then we will know what we need to work on.
“I hope to see a few things that are missing; that is the most useful thing for us during this period of pre-season, knowing what you can improve in the last two weeks.”