Saints’ Development Squad are in action this afternoon in a behind-closed-doors friendly away to Charlton Athletic (1.30pm kick-off).
The Under-21s will travel to the Addicks’ training ground for an encounter that will give a timely boost to their fixture list as they look to raise sharpness ahead of key league battles in the winter against West Brom and Stoke.
Tuesday’s clash will provide a slightly unfamiliar experience for the young Saints as Charlton currently ply their trade in the U21 Professional Development League – a division below the Barclays U21 Premier League that Southampton compete in.
U21s coach Martin Hunter feels that these added fixtures are crucial for the side’s season and is keen for a lengthy spell in the U21 Premier League Cup – starting with a clash away to Exeter City – to ensure the Development Squad maximise the amount of matches possible.
“You want to be playing at least one game a week,” he told saintsfc.co.uk. “We’re trying to supplement that by getting friendly fixtures, but it’s not the same as playing in the league.
“All the matches are significant because don’t have an expansive programme – we’ve got 19 league fixtures.
“We’d like a really good run in the cup like the First Team are doing. We can play sides like Exeter and it’s all part of their learning pattern in terms of how cup football is slightly different to league football.
“We’ve got to go and play at Exeter’s ground so that will be another good experience for us. It’ll extend our number of games, which is important.”