Having accumulated 11 points from the last six matches, some would say that Southampton are finally showing the form that was expected before this season started.
The reality of 15th place with 15 points after 12 matches shows just how much the recent fun of better form was needed. Looking at the next six games, it would be no exaggeration by saying that they could make or break the whole season.
Saturday’s visit to St Mary’s by Oldham looks an intriguing clash, with the Latics appearing to be one of the surprise packages of League One this season, while the visit to Notts County the week after will hold no guarantees with County showing some good home form to date.
There will then be no excuses for anything less than a three point haul from the home match with second bottom Dagenham and Redbridge as the season enters November.
Then comes potentially the hardest continuous run of matches so far this term with games against three of the current top six.
This trio starts with the long trip to Carlisle who, apart from being strong at Brunton Park, will be trying hard to avenge their 4-1 JPT Final defeat at Wembley earlier in the year. After that, the two sides currently sitting at the top of League One both visit St Mary’s in the space of four days.
Peterborough, having been relegated from the Championship in the summer, will be targeting this game in their efforts to achieve an early return and no-one needs reminding how dangerous Brighton will be after the corresponding fixture last season.
Based on the first dozen games, promotion will require around 85 points at the end of the season. To continue getting back on track for that sort of points total Saints will need to earn 13 points from this next set of six matches.
With this in mind three points are a must from each of the games against Oldham and the Daggers. That then leaves eight points to be taken from what appear the be the most challenging of the set so four points will need to be achieved from each of the Notts County/Carlisle and Peterboro/Brighton combinations.
A tough ask but if it can happen the wheels will most certainly be back on the bus.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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