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Goal-happy winger could help fire Southampton to safety

| 16.08.2012

Southampton will be hoping the £6m acquisition of Blackpool winger Matt Phillips helps the south-coast club stave off relegation from the Premier League this season.

Last term’s Championship runners-up are 4/7 to stay in the top flight this season, and if manager Nigel Adkins can combine Phillips with his exciting forward line it may well prove good value.

Bulky striker Rickie Lambert was top scorer in the Championship last year with 27 goals, whilst team-mate Billy Sharp finished third with 19 strikes to his name.

Talented 24-year-old Adam Lallana scored 11 goals from midfield and laid on 10 assists, and the club have been busy this summer securing some crucial cogs for their fight against relegation.

Burnley’s 15-goal hero Jay Rodriguez was snapped up for £7m, while Adkins plundered cash-strapped Rangers to sign midfield workhorse Steven Davis and picked up highly-rated attacking full-back Nathaniel Clyne from Crystal Palace.

Transfer target Phillips does have Premier League experience, enjoying his debut season in the division with the Tangerines at the age of just 19.

He made 27 appearances during that ill-fated campaign for Ian Holloway’s men, and went on to become a key member of the Blackpool side that just fell short of promotion from the Championship this year.

Last season Phillips found his shooting boots in earnest – firing in 18 goals from a wide berth – including six during a month’s loan spell at Sheffield United and two hat-tricks upon his return to Blackpool.

If Phillips settles quickly into life at St. Mary’s Stadium, and combines well with Lambert, Lallana, Rodriguez and others then Adkins’ side may be worth an outside bet for a top 10 finish, priced at 7/1.

Whilst the Saints don’t have the easiest start to life back in the Premier League – facing Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in their first four games – they do have a relatively easy run-in.

Six of the south-coast club’s last seven games of the season come against so-called ‘lesser sides’ such as Reading, West Ham, Swansea, West Brom, Sunderland and Stoke.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Jamie Dickenson