Belfast Telegraph

Ambitious Saints ready for return

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is aiming for more than just survival as the club prepares for its first top-flight fixture in seven years.

The south coast side have been on a turbulent ride since relegation from the Premier League in 2005 and three years ago were on the brink of bankruptcy. However, the club survived and moved on, with back-to-back promotions putting them back in the top tier.

They kick off their campaign at champions Manchester City on Sunda and Adkins will not be taking life at the top for granted, and he said: "We want to be very ambitious and have said that from the start."

He added: "The important thing, having just got back-to-back promotions and the football club having been out of the Premier League for so long, is now we're back we don't want to go 'ah, we're back there now' and take your foot off the pedal.

"[In a bid to stay there] we worked very hard through the course of the summer to identify players.

"I think when you look at the Euros and Olympics then you probably find that a lot of transfers throughout the course of the summer have been very slow.

"A lot of things have been waiting and growing behind the scenes and normally it is in the last couple of days where the majority of the transfers are done.

"I wouldn't be surprised if you might find more transfers across the leagues are all done and I'd like to think Southampton would be one of the clubs that may make one, two or three more additions into the group that we've got."

Bologna's Gaston Ramirez and Blackpool's Matt Phillips are amongst those Adkins is trying to bring to the club before the end of the month. As well as adding wide men, the Saints boss has made no secret of his desire to shore up the central defence, but has been thwarted so far.

"I'd like to get one in to start off but if we can get two even better," Adkins said. "I wouldn't say I have been frustrated, this is what football is."

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