Thirteen points from what initially looked like a dangerous sequence of six matches has put Southampton right where they need to be ready for a New Year push towards promotion from League One.
Wins against Oldham, Peterborough and a draw with league leaders Brighton were just what was required. Whilst only resulting in a position of the fringes of the play-off places, two points from third and just four from second place is no bad place to be moving into December.
Based on how the league table looks at the moment, an end of season points total of 83 should secure promotion and to achieve this each future ‘batch’ of six matches now needs to net 12 points.
With the next six fixtures taking in visits to Hartlepool, Walsall and Charlton and seeing Brentford, Huddersfield and Exeter travelling to St Mary's, where will those points come from?
Out of the home games, Brentford, having won their last four away from home, appears to be the most tricky but both Huddersfield and Exeter have been patchy on the road this season. Away from home, Charlton, who have on lost once at the Valley looks to be much tougher than the other two trips to clubs that have only amassed 20 home points between them during the season to date.
The obvious matches to target three point hauls from are against Hartlepool, Walsall, Huddersfield and Exeter so if that is where the twelve points can come from, anything achieved against Brentford and Charlton is a bonus.
With May still being a long way off there is plenty of time for many more twists and turns but realistically Saints should achieve at least 13 points by the time they return to the dressing room after the game on New Year’s Day.
This should be enough to enable them to start 2011 in the top three and ready for an exciting first four months of the New Year.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.