Southampton can complete their renaissance by clinching a return to the Premier League when they host Coventry City on Saturday.
Saints are second in English football’s second tier and know that a victory over the already-relegated Sky Blues would end their seven-year exile from the top-flight. A two-point lead over West Ham United and a slightly better goal difference means even a draw would be enough for Nigel Adkins’ side, but that is not something they would be willing to settle for in front of an expectant crowd at St Mary’s (Southampton 1/4, Draw 9/2, Coventry 10/1 – Ladbrokes
The fact that this game is on their home turf points to only one thing, a home win. If you can look past the recent home defeat to Reading, which ultimately ended their title dream, Southampton have been in superb form on their home turf, taking 49 points from a possible 66 this season. Meanwhile, Coventry have managed just one victory on their travels this season, collecting a paltry nine points to aid their slide into League One.
In Rickie Lambert and Billy Sharp (Anytime Goalscorer – Both 5/6 @ StanJames
), Southampton can boast an attacking partnership that would test defences in the top flight, let alone the second tier. Lambert has been in blistering form this season by racking up 31 goals, and he will be confident of adding to that sensational total with more goals in their season finale.
A patched-up Coventry defence is there for the taking and both Lambert and Sharp, a January signing from Doncaster Rovers, could well feed on that here (Southampton 2-0 – 6/1 @ William Hill
, Southampton 3-0 – 8/1 @ Coral).
The season cannot end soon enough for relegated Sky Blues, but there will be one final defeat to add to their record on Saturday. Predicting anything other than a Southampton victory would be almost ludicrous, it may just be a case of how many they win by (Southampton To Win By Three Or More Goals – 12/5 @ Coral
Southampton To Win To Nil – 11/10 @ SkyBet