Fleming braced for busy Academy schedule

By SFC Media Fri 06 Jan West Ham U18 vs Saints U18
Photo by Naomi Baker | Craig Fleming

Southampton Under-18s manager Craig Fleming wants to see his players make the most of the hectic January fixture period.

Saints travel to West Ham United on Saturday for their first game of 2017, before then facing Wigan Athletic in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday.

And with the Under-23s also facing a similarly busy run of fixtures, Fleming believes there will be plenty of game time for his players to impress.

“We’re in a busy, busy period for the phase,” the manager explained.

“A lot of the lads will be involved with the Under-23s on Friday, so we will be a very young group going across on Saturday morning.

“That’s good for the lads though because it means that those that didn’t get many minutes at the start of the season can come in now and crack on.

“They’ve had a week or so off but have had a programme to follow and are a good, honest bunch so they will certainly have worked hard during that time.”

Saturday’s hosts currently sit third in the Under-18 Premier League table; six places above Saints in ninth.

Though it was Fleming’s men that ran out 2-0 victors at Staplewood during their previous league meeting back in August.

“It was a good performance that day,” he continued.

“They were unbeaten at the time – I don’t think they’d even conceded a goal until that point, so it was a very good performance from us.

“They are a very settled side. They have a group of mostly second years that stay and generally player with the under-18s, so they will be strong, tough test.”

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