Date:Wednesday September 10 2008
Jan Poortvliet has only been in charge of Southampton for the matter of a few months, but Vital QPR talks to a Southampton fan who backs him to succeed.
Southampton fan and Vital Saints editor Scott Gordon aka 'therainmaker` gives his views on his beloved Southampton, indicating that Poortvliet could cause a few surprises this season.
It's been a period of transition for the Saints, in a difficult period for the club, what do you make of things happening behind the scenes at St. Mary's?
Anyone looking in from the outside would think we are mad. We have a new coach that no one has heard of and we seem to be letting our most experienced players leave. I personally however, believe that it is a bold move that will ultimately pay off.
As a former Saints player, my chances of getting into the first team were limited because of the amount of experienced and quality players ahead of me. If I were still there, who knows, I might have got my chance under Jan. This is a transition period that we will come out the other end of, a much stronger and more experienced side that can perhaps challenge for promotion next season.
The last time the two sides met it was an emotional occasion at Loftus Road following the death of R's striker Ray Jones, a year on what sort of atmosphere do you anticipate at Loftus Road for this occasion, and what are your overall impressions of the Loftus Road crowd?
To be honest it is one place I have never been, but I have been to the training ground for games against the Youth team. I`d expect that the atmosphere will be awesome though. Especially as both sides know that they can beat one another. The results last season show that. There seems to be a bit of a buzz surrounding QPR with the new financial backers so I hope this continues to the terraces for Saturday.
On that day Southampton walked the game, but the R's were to gain their revenge at St. Mary's, what sort of game do you anticipate this time out at Loftus Road.
I would think we'll see a cagey affair at the Road, especially given the break for Internationals. It'll be like starting the season all over again. I think the team that starts the brighter will ultimately go on and win the game.
In a thrilling finale to the 2007/08 Championship season, Southampton stayed up by the skin of their teeth, what was the feeling around St. Mary's at the time - Happiness at relative success, or disappointment at the overall poor position?
I think the overall feeling was one of relief, pure relief! It would have been devastating for the whole city if Saints had slipped down another league. In saying that, the Southampton fans are not stupid and realise that we need to be playing much better football if we are to avoid a repeat this year.
Nigel Pearson was the man who guided the club to its eventual safety, were you disappointed that he wasn't given the chance to ply his trade on a permanent basis?
I was gutted for Pearson when he was given the chop, but he certainly wasn`t the first and wont be the last to find himself in the position. My mind races back to Dave Jones time at the club and how it was cut short by the chairman Lowe. I think Pearson could have made Saints into a very good side, if given the backing. But alas we'll never know.
Jan Poortvliet has taken charge of the side in difficult circumstances, what are your initial impressions of the Dutchman and his style of play?
Initially I thought Jan who? Much like everyone else I suspect. But his style of play and down right audaciousness has caught my attention. He seems to have a good work ethic drilled into the players which makes them play for the full 90 minutes. He also isn`t afraid to attack teams, either home or away. Its a bold move that could end up seeing Saints being tanked some week, but on the other hand, Saints could well hand out a tanking themselves.
Where do you think you will finish come the end of the season - and does this conflict with what you personally hope for?
Realistically I think we'll be aiming for a top half finish. But obviously a promotion spot is what everyone is after. Put it this way.... we wont win it.
Which players do you perceive as your most dangerous, and give you the best chance of winning in W12?
Jan's faith in the youth has lead to some interesting performances at the start of the season. Young Adam Lallana has started with a bang, as has Lee Holmes. David McGoldrick is also on form. I think these three players playing at their best will give us a good chance of getting something down at LR.
In turn, which players do you most fear from the Rangers squad?
I fear anyone who has had a connection with Southampton, for one reason: They always have a point to prove. For that reason alone I am wary of Dexter Blackstock, Fitz Hall and former Pompey lad Rowan Vine (have kicked him a few times lol). I hope they dont come back to haunt us, as per Kevin Phillips a few weeks ago for Birmingham.
Finally, what are your predictions for Saturday?
QPR in 9th with 7 points and Saints in 20th with 3 points. The obvious answer is a QPR win. But I think we'll get something. My dad always told me if you draw your away games and win all your home games, you're gonna win the league. I'll be happy with a draw down at the 'Road'. 2-2 is my prediction.
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