- Southampton News
- News Archive
- League Table
- Premier League News
We're made of right stuff, says Saints boss Adkins
Published : 19 Dec 2011 01:17:56Rss feed
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins believes his side's 1-1 draw against local rivals Portsmouth proves they have the character to last the pace in the race to reach the Premier League.
Adkins' Championship promotion chasers moved one point clear at the top of the table after withstanding a hostile atmosphere at Fratton Park on Sunday to emerge with a valuable point from the first league south-coast derby since 2005.
The visit of arch enemies Southampton had whipped the 19,000 sell-out crowd into a frenzy and Portsmouth's players responded with a tireless display that belied their lowly position in English football's second tier.
But Southampton showed their promotion credentials by matching Portsmouth's intensity and then went on to provide the game's few moments of real class.
"There are 10 or 15 teams with aspirations of getting into the Premier League. I just wanted to be in with a shout and be in the top 10. We would have been happy with that," Adkins said.
"We've led that race for over three months now. That shows we have a consistency about our play and we have good players.
"We play the right way and score a lot of goals. Our desire is to pick up more clean sheets and results away from home now."
Rickie Lambert opened the scoring with a clinically taken close-range header from Daniel Fox's cross in the 63rd minute before Portsmouth-born Joel Ward rescued a point for his home-town club with a header of his own in the 84th minute.
Lambert has already scored 17 goals this season and is likely to attract interest from bigger clubs in the January transfer window, as will classy midfielder Adam Lallana.
Adkins admits keeping hold of his better players is essential if Southampton are to achieve back to back promotions just 12 months after escaping League One.
"We've got the January period when there will be a lot of speculation and transfer rumours. It's then just a case of giving ourselves a chance to win the race and get promoted," he added.
While Southampton have plenty of reasons for optimism, Portsmouth are finally showing signs of a revival of their own after a four-match unbeaten run.
They remain in 17th place but new manager Michael Appleton has made a positive start to his first managerial role and Ward's goal lifted the gloom around a club still beset by financial difficulties over two years after relegation from the Premier League.
Appleton enjoyed his first taste of the south-coast derby, but admitted he is relieved to see the back of Southampton until the return fixture at St Mary's in April.
"It will be nice not to mention the word 'Southampton' for a couple of months and just focus on climbing up the league and getting on with the rest of the season," he said.
"These games get built up that much that the players forget to play at times. There weren't enough people prepared to put their foot on the ball and show a bit of composure."