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Interview with an away fan: Southampton - Go Marching In

This season me and Ciaran will be taking the 'Interview with an away fan' more seriously, by hoping to interview a blogger from each Championship team. The start of the season is less than 48 hours away, and I was fortunate enough to speak to Southampton fan Ben Gammon. Ben is part of the Southampton FC blog 'Go Marching In' and he shared his thoughts about the the upcoming game down at the St Mary's on Saturday.

Saturday's game sees your return to the Championship, what are your expectations for the upcoming season?

I would like to see us make a good solid return to the Championship. A mid-table finish should be the minimum expectation, but with the right additions in January we could make a late charge for a play-off place.

Nigel Adkins came in last season and took the club forward with promotion, what are your thoughts on him and is he the man to take you even further?

It's easy to see why Saints fans like Adkins. He is always enthusiastic and intelligent and puts a huge emphasis on the team, rather than the individuals. He demands the best from the players and he strikes me as a very good motivator.

Some fans will tell you they are skeptical about him as he hasn't really proven himself at this level. But you could argue that he's never had a squad as strong as this or the resources behind him. I believe he is the man to take us on to the next level, but it will be very important that fans don't turn against him if we don't get off to the best of starts or go through a bad spell.

All summer rumours have been rife regarding Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's future, do you see him staying?

I do think he'll stay. When he recently spoke out to the national press and said he wanted to leave I thought it was a foregone conclusion, but as time has gone on the situation seems to have cooled.

Arsenal should start signing players that can impact their first team immediately instead of building for the future all the time. Even though I think Chamberlain will still be at Southampton when the transfer window closes, i'm sure we'll go through it all again in January!

You currently have former Leeds players Frazer Richardson and Dan Harding down at St Mary's how do you rate them and will they be a big part of this season?

I rate them both. Dan Harding was dubbed 'Mr Consistent' during his first season at the club and Frazer Richardson looks fast and strong when he plays.

I'm sure they will feature a lot this season, but we have great competition for places coming from Danny Butterfield and Ryan Dickson which will no doubt keep all four players playing their best.

Saints have so far signed Jack Cork and Steve De Ridder, where else do you need to strengthen to be ready for the campaign?

If the rumours are to be believed, we are on the brink of signing a centre-back and that's good news. Radhi Jaidi is a very strong and experienced defender but his advancing years mean he struggles to play more than one game a week and this season will probably be his last. Signing a quality centre-back now would pave the way for a perfect transition in the Southampton defence.

What formation are Leeds likely to come up against on Saturday?

Most likely a 4-4-2. Leeds fans should be wary of the versatility of our wingers, who are likely to switch wings during the game.

Which Southampton players do Leeds need to fear this weekend?

Rickie Lambert can score for fun if he gets the right service from the players around him. Adam Lallana has the ability to create something from nothing and is deadly if given time on the ball. If Alex Chamberlain plays (currently injured) then you'll need to be wary of his pace, but if he doesn't play be sure to look out for Steve de Ridder. He also has pace to burn and is a fantastic crosser of the ball.

What will the atmosphere be like inside the St.Mary's?

I'm sure the opening day of the season will mean a fantastic atmosphere from all involved. It looks like Leeds are going to sell out their allocation so there should be some great banter between the two sets of fans.

If you could sign any Leeds player who would it be?

I mentioned before that we're currently in the market for a centre-back, so if I had the choice I would gladly take Patrick Kisnorbo off your hands! He was unlucky to miss last season through injury and I'm sure that if he had been fit you wouldn't have conceded anywhere near as many goals as you did, meaning you would definitely have made the play-offs!

Prediction for the match?

My head says 1-1, but my heart is hoping we can shake off our bad opening day record and win 2-1.