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Interview With An Away Fan: Southampton

It's typical that just when Leeds United need a good run of form under newish boss Neil Warnock, the league leaders come to town. Saturday sees Southampton travel to Elland Road, with the game being shown live on Sky and with a delayed kick-off with the game starting at 5.20pm.

With no new defenders and only Danny Webber brought in this week I expect the Whites to struggle. Southampton fan Ben, editor of Go Marching In is far more confident going into the game, and why wouldn't he by the Saints are on fire at the moment.

Sitting top of the league and one point clear of West Ham (who have a game in hand). Life must be good at the moment being a Saints fan?

We’re in a fantastic position. We made some great additions to the squad in January and we’re putting together another good run of form. Pompey are struggling at the moment and even though I don’t want them to go out of business (the rivalry is great) being at opposite ends of the league always makes you feel better about yourself!

When I last spoke to you in August you wanted a good return to the Championship and said you would settle for mid-table. Let me guess going up automatically is now the minimum aim?

We started the season as we finished the last and won 7 of our first 10 games. Everyone said we couldn't maintain it and it was a view I shared, if I’m honest. After that terrific start I had expected to be mixing it around the top six by Christmas, but we have managed to keep it going. We faltered a bit at the start of the New Year through injury and suspension to certain key members of the squad, but now everyone is fit and ready to go in the race for the finish line.

Nigel Adkins seems like a fine manager and his record speaks for itself. Is he a real crowd favourite now?

He’s a very likeable manager. He is always very enthusiastic, positive and honest. As a former physio he has really got the squad in great physical shape and our fitness is much better than most of the teams in the Championship. I hear plenty of Saints fans saying, "In Adkins We Trust", so that goes to show how highly most think of him.

Alex-Oxlaide Chamberlain left the club and has been brilliant for the Gunners when he's played. Have you missed him and do you see him having a big future?

I must admit I thought we would miss him more than we have done, but it didn’t make that much of a difference to our start to the season. I personally think he’s going to be huge for Arsenal, he’s already beginning to show that. He already has a better all-round game than Theo Walcott and I think he’s going to develop in to a top, top player.

Frazer Richardson and Dan Harding are still at Saints, how are they doing?

Dan Harding has been kept out of the team by Danny Fox a fair bit this season, but he’s filled in at right back for us a few times and he’s bagged himself a goal too. Frazer Richardson is our regular right back this season and has a great engine on him – I just wish his crossing was a bit better!

Ricky Lambert is on fire this season. Is there any chance he might have an off game this week or has he just been consistent week in week out?

Southampton’s goal machine. Unfortunately for Leeds he is pretty consistent. When he joined Saints from Bristol Rovers he was a goal scorer, but since then he has improved his fitness and his all-round game has improved considerably. He has a superb touch for a big man and his contribution to the whole team is incredible.

How do you see Saints lining up this Saturday?

We’ll most likely set up in a standard 4-4-2 formation, but we do like to switch to a diamond at periods during the game.

I've seen an article suggesting some Saints are protesting the game due to the high prices is this true?

There was talk on the SaintsWeb forum about the cost of tickets for the game. A few have said they will boycott the game, but with it also being on TV I think that is the preferred option for some.

Who do Leeds need to watch out for on Saturday?

Apart from Lambert, Adam Lallana is one to watch out for. The two have recently been shortlisted for Championship Player of the Year and Lallana is a pretty special player. With plenty of tricks up his sleeve and a license to drift inside when he wants, he has the potential to cause some big headaches.

Although you're doing well is there any Leeds player that has impressed you this season and you'd like at Saints?

When I look at the Saints squad, we have good quality cover in all areas of the pitch except at the back. Radhi Jaidi is our most experienced backup player, but he hasn’t even played a game this season – and this will no doubt be his last. Young Aaron Martin is developing in to a good player but needs time. If anything were to happen to Jose Fonte or Jos Hooiveld, we don’t a have a like-for-like replacement. A player like Kisnorbo would be a great addition to the team! (I think I chose him when you last asked me!)

Trust me you don’t want Kisnorbo…unfortunately he’s lost it and is also currently injured again.

Prediction for the match?

We’re unbeaten in the last six and look to be getting back to the sort of form we started the season with. That said, this will be Warnock’s first home game in charge and it’s never easy playing a team with new manager syndrome. I don’t think we’ll keep a clean sheet, but we have scored 10 goals in the last 4 games. My heart says 3-1 to Saints, but any win will do!