Strachan quick off mark

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The Independent Online

The new Southampton manager Gordon Strachan has wasted no time settling on his line-up to face Ipswich at St Mary's in the Premiership tonight.

Strachan took his second squad session at the club's training ground at Staplewood yesterday and then – less than 24 hours after being unveiled as the Saints' new manager – spoke of the need for experience in a time of crisis.

"I shall be picking the team. I know what the team will be already," said the former Coventry boss.

Matthew Oakley has recovered from a virus, and the only first-team players unavailable to Strachan are the injured Matthew Le Tissier and Francis Benali.

"It will take time for us to play the way I want us to play, so we will have to cut a few corners to win games," said Strachan.

"We have been working today on getting the ball into the opposition's box much quicker. It is times like these that you need experience around you."

Strachan said: "This was a similar situation to the one when I started at Coventry, but there we had Darren Huckerby and Dion Dublin who had pace and goalscoring ability. I hope we can do the same here."

The call for experience could mean a recall for Dan Petrescu who was frozen out by previous manager Stuart Gray, who did not share Glenn Hoddle's enthusiasm for the player he signed from Bradford. Petrescu has not started a match this season.

Meanwhile, Strachan has declared the vacant Scotland job as more suitable for an older candidate. The 44-year-old was linked with the position as soon as Craig Brown announced his retirement at the end of the failed World Cup qualifying campaign.

But the former Scotland international insisted he is not ready for such a challenge at this stage of his career, despite admitting he still harbours ambitions to manage the national side in the future.

"I am like any other Scot in that I always had ambitions to play for and manage my country," said Strachan.

"It was an honour to represent my country as a player, but the pull of club management is too strong at the moment. I do feel the Scotland position is one for an older man."

The Under-21 manager Alex Smith, the 62-year-old Dundee United boss, is the new favourite with the bookmakers.

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