Five League One points from their first seven games cannot be considered anything resembling good enough for a Southampton side more expecting than hoping to be promoted at the end of the season - but it is the reality of the situation.
Nothing can be gained by thinking ‘what if’, so they now need to take control of their destiny and think more about 'what is going to happen?'
A fair title winning points target for the season is 92. To achieve this, the Saints will now need to accumulate points at an average of 2.23 per game which means that over the next six matches they need 13 points (four wins and a draw).
Can this be achieved?
These next six games will feature trips to Sheffield Wednesday, Yeovil and Huddersfield whilst Bournemouth, Tranmere and Oldham all visit St Mary’s.
After winning 5-0 at Hartlepool, Wednesday have suffered three straight defeats but only one of these was at Hillsborough which, in three games so far this season, has seen just four goals (three for and one away).
With Southampton also suffering in front of goal and looking fairly steady at the back, a low scoring match could be on the cards but a draw is definitely achievable.
Bournemouth will not need any motivating prior to their trip along the South Coast on October 2. They will be wanting to avenge the defeat they suffered in the Carling Cup as well as get a result against local rivals that are considered by most as the bigger team.
Whilst anything can, and often does, happen in a local derby anything less than three points will disappoint Saints.
Huddersfield are always a formidable proposition in their own backyard and this could prove to be the most difficult of this group of six matches. They will still be smarting from the 0-5 reverse at St Mary’s last season and, by all accounts, have a stronger team than the one that did so well last term.
Both Yeovil and Oldham have had mixed starts to this season but any team with promotion ambitions should be targeting wins against both. With Tranmere not yet having won away from home, the hope will also be that this one results in three points.
So, realistically, the 13 point target can be achieved and, assuming this happens, 18 points from 13 games should result in a position somewhere between mid-table and the play off positions.
This will, of course, look a huge amount better than 22nd but, by that time, over a quarter of the season will have been played. This just shows how much hard work there is to do both in the short term and over the rest of the season.
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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