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Friday, August 14, 2009
SAINTS SPOTLIGHT League One preview – Huddersfield v Saints
SAINTS SUBS BIALKOWSKI, LANCASHIRE, GILLETT, GOBERN, PATERSON, HOLMES, SAGANOWSKI
T CLARKE NOVAK
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FIT-AGAIN defender Wayne Thomas has a double reason to be cheerful. Not only is he delighted that the club finally appears to have some stability, he is also back playing in the first team after a long injury lay-off. The 30-year-old had been out for the past nine months with a knee injury but has proved to be an integral part of the Saints defence in the two competitive games under Alan Pardew this week. And he is glad that, at last, he and his teammates can get on with playing football rather than worrying about their futures after the long-winded takeover saga was completed.
Distracting “It gets distracting,” he said when recalling the off-field summer dramas. “We weren’t paid a couple of times and had to wait. “We didn’t know whether we were going to go into administration, go pop or what. “So, when somebody comes in it gives stability to the club and everyone knows they’re getting paid. “Then you can just look to do the best on the pitch you can do.” So far this season, Saints have put in two good performances at St Mary’s –
TERRIERS SUBS ROBERTS
Double delight for fit-again Thomas
By Simon Peach
drawing 1-1 with 2008/09 League One play-off finalists Millwall and comfortably beating lower division Northampton 2-0 in the first round of the Carling Cup. The key to the impressive form is the appointment of manager Alan Pardew. “The gaffer is well-respected and conveys what he wants the lads to do,” said former Torquay, Stoke and Burnley defender Thomas. “There’s a lot more organisation and discipline around the place. “People are training with a smile on their face and people are looking to impress and get in that starting eleven.”
Distracting Having returned from injury – he missed the whole of last season with knee trouble – Thomas is now looking to establish himself in the first team. “It’s great to be back playing football but I need to keep my place and work as hard as I can,” said the man who won promotion from League One in 2002 with Stoke. “You’ve got the likes of Ollie Lancashire coming through, who is a great prospect, myself, Pezza (Chris Perry) and I’m sure the gaffer is looking to bring one or two more in as well. “You can’t take for granted that you’re going to be playing. “You’ve got to be working hard and try to nail your own spot down and contribute the best you can to the team effort and results.”
GLENNON, ROBINSON, SIMPSON, N CLARKE, WILLIAMS, BERRETT, AINSWORTH
‘They don’t come much bigger’ - Lee HUDDERSFIELD boss Lee Clark admits games in League One “don’t come much bigger” than against Saints, writes GORDON SIMPSON. The Terriers, one of the favourites for promotion, host Alan Pardew’s side at the Galpharm Stadium tomorrow. It will be Saints’ first visit to Huddersfield since a 1-0 League Cup success in September 1994 and their first for a league game since a 2-0 top flight win in December 1971. “In this division, sides don’t come much bigger than Southampton, and it’s a great way to kick-off our home league programme,” said Clark. Like Saints, Huddersfield started their season with an opening day draw in the league – 2-2 at Southend – before producing a midweek Carling Cup win, seeing off Stockport 3-1 at home. New signing Jordan Rhodes – a £250,000 signing from Ipswich – has found the net three times in those two games and Huddersfield LEE CLARK fans will be hoping the 19-year-old continues his fine form. But Clark is also wary of Saints’ new striker, Rickie Lambert, who is also off the mark for his latest club. “Rickie is a very good striker, but Southampton are about much more than one player,” he said. “I saw a lot of them last season when I was working for Norwich, and they have some of the best young players around. “The points deduction will have been a hammer blow, but will also have brought them together and given them even more incentive to accrue points as quickly as possible. “I have made my players very aware of how dangerous they will be. “But on the other side of the coin, if we play as we can than there’s nothing to fear. “I was very pleased with most aspects of the Stockport performance, and we will be looking to kick on tomorrow.” Midfielders Jim Goodwin (knee injury) and Michael Collins (suspended) are both ruled out.