Pools can rise to Southampton challenge

Mick Wadsworth
Mick Wadsworth

MICK Wadsworth believes that his players can rise to the challenge of taking on promotion-chasing Southampton.

The second-placed Saints are expecting a bumper crowd at St.Mary’s Stadium this afternoon as they bid to stave off the threat of Huddersfield Town for the last remaining automatic promotion slot.

Nigel Adkins’ South Coast outfit scored twice the last 10 minutes at the home of champions Brighton on Saturday to snatch a victory which keeps them above Lee Clark’s Terriers by virtue of goal difference.

But, rather than being daunted by the prospect of taking on his former club in a game of such magnitude, Wadsworth is hoping his side can upset the odds and nick a result which would see them edge closer to their 60-point target.

“What a fantastic game this is to be involved in at this stage of the season,” said Wadsworth, who has already masterminded victories over Brighton and Huddersfield this season.

“I hope doing well against the top teams this season gives the players confidence going into this game.

“It’s going to be really tough because they play an expansive game and there will be a massive crowd there with them fighting for promotion.

“It’s not a day to buckle, it’s day to roll your sleeves up and have a go.

“There’s no pressure on us whatsoever, but I will be interested to see how we perform.

“It’s a game where the players can test themselves against a top team who will be really going for it.

“It’s a fantastic football club and one which probably deserves to be playing at a higher level and they’ll be desperate to make that happen without having to go through the play-offs.

“Luckily there is no great consequence for ourselves because we’re safe now, and that’s wonderful, but we’ll be looking to cause an upset not for the first time this season and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the players perform.

“It’s another learning experience for me and the players have another chance to impress.”

Full story in Monday’s Mail