Brett Ormerod highlights "huge advantage" Southampton have over Ipswich Town in promotion race | OneFootball

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Football League World

·5 December 2023

Brett Ormerod highlights "huge advantage" Southampton have over Ipswich Town in promotion race

Article image:Brett Ormerod highlights "huge advantage" Southampton have over Ipswich Town in promotion race

Brett Ormerod believes Southampton could fight for automatic promotion this season, with things starting to close up on the likes of Ipswich Town and Leicester City.

Southampton are embarking on a new era at the club under Russell Martin this season and had a difficult beginning to their first Championship campaign in over a decade.

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They finished bottom of the Premier League during the 2022/23 campaign and they will be hoping to make an immediate return to the top-flight this season.

There have been a number of changes behind the scenes this summer, including a managerial switch at St. Mary's, with Ruben Selles leaving the club for Reading and Southampton filling the vacated position with Martin.

The likes of Romeo Lavia, Tino Livramento, and James Ward-Prowse departed, but key players such as Kamaldeen Sulemana, Che Adams, Adam Armstrong, and Kyle Walker-Peters remained with the club.

Martin may still be in the midst of forming his squad for the long term, but given how frantic their summer was, it has been an impressive couple of months for the Saints. They have won eight and drawn three of their last 11 league games.

In their first eight league games, Southampton lost four games but haven't been defeated since, and are one of the most in-form teams in the Championship. They sit in fourth following a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City this weekend, eight points behind Ipswich and nine behind Leicester.

What are the pundits saying about Southampton?

Former Southampton and Leeds United striker Brett Ormerod believes the Saints will be in the mix with Ipswich Town and Leicester City, in part due to Martin and also given their financial superiority.

He told Stocklytics: "No one gave Ipswich a chance when they got promoted. Kieran McKenna has done a fantastic job. I don't think there's any reason why Southampton can't reach their level.

"Russell Martin is a good coach but he's sometimes overplayed things and lacked a cutting edge. They seem to be getting that now and there's no reason why Southampton can't be up there fighting for promotion.

"Southampton, Leeds, and Ipswich will all be in the mix. Whether Norwich get an act together I'm not so sure. When you get relegated there's a huge advantage due to the parachute payments."

Will Southampton challenge for automatic promotion?

Southampton are a team on the rise, full of confidence, and more in tune with Martin's methods now. That's a recipe for success, especially if they also utilise the January market to their advantage.

A signing or two could be what tips the scales from them being a near guarantee in the play-offs, to challenging for automatic promotion seriously.

The Saints are unfortunate that their points haul in most other recent years at this level would have them inside the automatic promotion spots, and instead, they have three other seriously strong sides above them.

However, the quality and consistency of their displays is enough to give them optimism for 2024 and Martin appears to fit like a glove at St. Mary's after those aforementioned initial teething issues.

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