sport

Adkins looks to build on draw

Nigel Adkins knows his team can score goals but is more concerned with whether they can build on their first clean sheet against Norwich.

Saints have found goals easy to come by since ending a seven-year top-flight exile, with their struggles instead coming at the other end.

They endured a record-breaking bad start defensively and conceded 28 goals in their opening 10 matches.

However, their backline has vastly improved in recent weeks and they collected their first league shutout when they beat Newcastle on Sunday.

"We've had 13 different goalscorers this season so we've got goals throughout the team, but the important thing for us is can we build on the clean sheet from the last game against Newcastle," Adkins said.

"We had a steady and stable back four and goalkeeper which is something we haven't had since the start of the campaign due to injuries, and the players are all working very hard as a team together.

"The players are working very hard on the training ground and what we've got is a group of players who are getting the just rewards for putting the work in home and away.

"We've accustomed ourselves very quickly the demands of the Premier League.

"We talk about lessons learned throughout the campaign and the players are working very, very hard to improve.

"There's a forward momentum about ourselves, and a growing belief about everybody.

"Sunday's performance was really good. We've got Gaston Ramirez, Adam Lallana, and Jason Puncheon with Rickie Lambert, and there was a good solid base behind them as a platform for some great attacking football that got the supporters off their feet at the weekend."

Top scorer Lambert has overcome a knock and should feature tonight against former Rochdale team-mate Grant Holt.

Lambert came off in the 2-0 defeat of Newcastle due to the leg complaint, but trained yesterday and should be involved against the Canaries.

However, the game could come too soon for Danny Fox after missing Sunday with a knee complaint, while Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow are also expect to remain sidelined.