Friday 21 September 2018

Saints want Hughes to go marching on

Hughes has a contract until the end of the season and while his prospects of being offered a longer deal will be influenced by whether Southampton do stay up, many players believe that he has added an intensity and focus to training. Photo: Getty Images
Hughes has a contract until the end of the season and while his prospects of being offered a longer deal will be influenced by whether Southampton do stay up, many players believe that he has added an intensity and focus to training. Photo: Getty Images

Jeremy Wilson

Mark Hughes has growing player support at Southampton to continue as manager beyond the end of this season.

Despite the club's Premier League survival still likely to hinge on tonight's huge match against Swansea City, there is a feeling that Hughes has galvanised the squad and overseen an improvement since replacing Mauricio Pellegrino almost two months ago.

Hughes has a contract until the end of the season and while his prospects of being offered a longer deal will be influenced by whether Southampton do stay up, many players believe that he has added an intensity and focus to training.

After being sacked by Stoke in January, Hughes knew that he was taking a major risk by accepting the Southampton job, but is keen to re-establish himself in the Premier League after six clubs and almost 14 continuous years in England's top flight.

Southampton climbed out of the bottom three on goal difference by drawing with Everton on Saturday, but the concession of a last-minute goal means they are likely to need a win tonight at Swansea.

Relegation would ensure the sale of players, with Ryan Bertrand of interest to Manchester City. Dusan Tadic, Cedric Soares, James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond would also attract interest.

While Swansea host already-relegated Stoke City on the final day, Southampton are at home against Manchester City. Although City have already won the title, they could have the added incentive of becoming the first Premier League club to reach 100 points in a season.

Swansea v Southampton, live, Sky Sports, 7.45

Irish Independent

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