It’s a return to action for Southampton’s B team on Friday afternoon, with a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion in Premier League 2.
Brighton vs Saints B
Premier League 2
The Amex Elite Football Performance Centre
Friday 9th April, 2pm GMT
It’s been a season of development for Saints, who are continuing to learn and adapt to the changes that came with the shift to the B team set-up at the start of the season.
Last-time-out before the international break was another example of this; a 2-1 defeat at home to Liverpool that came with both positives and negatives.
Liverpool took the lead through Joe Hardy after just five minutes, but it took Dave Horseman just ten minutes to respond as Luke Pearce grabbed his first goal for the B team with a neat finish.
But Liverpool retook the lead just shy of the break, Hardy the profiter of a lack of concentration at the back.
Friday’s hosts Brighton returned to action a week sooner than Saints, also coming against a talented Liverpool side.
Despite taking the lead and then reclaiming the lead through Evan Ferguson, Liverpool went on to win 3-2 at the Academy.
Brighton, who have played at least a game more than everyone else in the division, will be searching for three points that quell those looking towards them with matches in hand.
Three points for Saints could see them leapfrog Leicester City into 11th, putting them two points behind Arsenal.
Saints and Brighton last met at St Mary’s stadium at the end of November.
Both sides fielded teams with plenty of Premier League experience, making for an intriguing contest.
But it was the visitors who took all three points, Max Sanders scoring the only goal of the game on 37 minutes.
On the defeat to Liverpool Horseman was certainly frustrated, but keen to also take the positives from the narrow game.
“That was a disappointing one,” he said. “I think we handed that away because the two goals we conceded were really poor individual mistakes.
“But we created some decent chances ourselves with some good bits of play. I think the quality in the final moments was probably the difference between the two teams.
“Brighton will be unforgiving and if we make the same mistakes we made against Liverpool it will be even tougher.
“I watched them against Blackburn recently and they looked lively, with some good full-backs, and passed the ball really well.
“We’ll need to be organised and be tough to play against, then I’m sure there will be some chances presented if we can get some good regains in the defensive third.”