Fans can help push Saints all the way to the top flight, says Adkins

 

Nigel Adkins, the Southampton manager, has told the club's fans they will have a huge part to play against Coventry today when a victory will guarantee the Saints Premier League football next season.

The race to claim the second automatic promotion spot behind Reading goes to the final day of the Championship regular season, with Southampton and West Ham the two teams in contention.

Saints hold the upper hand as they face already-relegated Coventry at St Mary's boasting a two-point lead over third-placed West Ham, who are at home to Hull. The south coast side also have a superior goal difference of plus-three over the Hammers.

If Southampton do prevail, it would be the second successive season they have sealed promotion on the final day after claiming runners-up spot in League One last term, and Adkins is hoping his side's fans can help them achieve a similar outcome this time.

"They're good happy memories aren't they?" Adkins said of last year's triumph. "It was great for the supporters and for the players, and on this occasion we know we've got to win and the supporters have got an important role to play – their positivity will drive the players on, their positivity will be there to lift the players and drive them on to get the three points.

"We have a magnificent support base. There will be 32,000 here on Saturday and they're going to lift the players, they're going to get behind everybody. We have 90 minutes to win the game of football and I've got total belief in the players to go and do that," he said.

Should Southampton slip up, then West Ham – who kept their hopes alive with a 2-1 victory at Leicester on Monday – will be determined to take advantage. However, manager Sam Allardyce knows it is Southampton who hold the aces. He said: "I don't think we are too nervous because we only have a slim chance; most of the pressure lies with Southampton on the day because they have more to lose than we do. We have to rely on Coventry doing a big favour for us at St Mary's, which is going to be difficult."

In the race for the play-off spots, Blackpool are already assured of their berth ahead of the trip to Millwall, while Birmingham are all but guaranteed to finish in the top six. They are at home to champions Reading, Cardiff, in sixth, need at least a point from their visit to Crystal Palace, who they beat in the Carling Cup semi-finals, while seventh-placed Middlesbrough travel to Watford hoping Malky Mackay's side slip up.

Football League: Ups and downs

Championship

A win for Southampton at home to Coventry would take them up and consign West Ham to the play-offs. The Hammers need to win by four and hope Saints fail to win. Birmingham, Cardiff and Middlesbrough battle to join Blackpool in the play-offs.

League One

Sheffield United will be promoted if they win and Sheffield Wednesday lose; Stevenage and Notts County contest the final play-off position. Defeats for Exeter and Chesterfield would confirm their relegation, while Wycombe will join them if Walsall better their result.

League Two

Shrewsbury go up with a win, while Crawley join them if they win and Torquay lose. At the bottom, Macc-lesfield go down if they lose and Barnet win, which would also leave Hereford needing victory to stay up.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...