Ward wary of Saints backlash

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward believes it is inevitable that Southampton will kick-start their campaign soon – he just hopes it’s not today.

This summer many predicted the Saints to run away with the League One title after they finished last season like a steam train, only just missing out on the play-offs despite a 10-point deduction.

What followed has therefore come as a bit of a surprise.

After an average, yet by no means disastrous start to the campaign came the shock sacking of manager Alan Pardew, bizarrely after a 4-0 victory away at Bristol Rovers. Three successive defeats under caretaker boss Dean Wilkins then followed.

Nigel Adkins – the man who has twice guided Scunthorpe to promotion at this level – was appointed at the start of the week, but his arrival didn’t spark a change in fortunes on Wednesday night as their misery continued with a 2-0 defeat at MK Dons.

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It means The Saints have now lost four of their six home games this season, are out of the Carling Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (which they won last season) and are joint bottom of the table.

By contrast, Colchester are unbeaten in the league, have won three of their five away games and have held a lead at some stage in all but one of their eight matches so far.

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Ward isn’t reading too much into the form guide though.

“I think we should all be wary of what’s going to happen at Southampton,” said the U’s boss.

“Good players don’t stay low for too long and although they lost on Wednesday night they showed some signs that they are on the verge of exploding sometime soon.

“Hopefully we can delay the start of their season for one more game at least.”

He continued: “I know Nigel (Adkins) pretty well and spoke to him earlier this week wishing him good luck with the job.

“I’m sure people looking in from the outside will be saying that this will be his first win with Southampton, but I don’t mind that

“I don’t mind going into the lions’ den and standing up for ourselves. I think the first half hour will be important – if we can stand strong in that period then I think we will give ourselves a chance.”

- Full match preview in today’s EADT. For match updates from St Mary’s follow Stuart_Watson on www.twitter.com.

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