Southport FC has had a start-stop beginning to the season. Although they won two of their opening three games, they suffered a series of setbacks that saw them tumbling down the table. However, recently they appear to have caught form again, with Liam Watson able to get them to play more attractive football.
Similarly, Newcastle United had a stuttering start to the season. They may have only lost to Liverpool, but they only won one game out of their opening seven. However, Eddie Howe has managed to instil his ideas, and they’ve climbed up the table. Could Southport FC be heading for a similar season?
Top four dreams
English football leagues follow a pyramid system in which teams compete to get promoted to a higher division. However, those in the Premier League want to either win the league or get into one of the top four positions to compete in the Champions League. After a slow start, Newcastle has turned their season around and currently sits in fourth. Checking free football tips would suggest that with how well they’ve played lately, we could see them in that position at the end of the season. In fact, Betfair has them at odds of 11/5 to make the top four, just behind Chelsea, who are currently priced at 7/5.
Southport could take a leaf out of Eddie Howe’s book. After a stumbling start, manager Liam Watson steadied the ship. However, they haven’t been rattling off victories like Newcastle, but they did climb up the table. They’re higher than mid-table, but they only need to get sixth to qualify for the promotion playoff. With that said, they’re only two points off sixth. With teams only separated by a couple of points, they could feasibly travel up the table and comfortably get fourth by the season’s end.
Style of play
The football Eddie Howe’s Newcastle is playing is so captivating. Attractive possession-based play with high pressing and a team-orientated approach. Watson could take a few pointers from Howe, and although Southport has managed impressive victories against the likes of Kidderminster Harriers, Darlington and Leamington, they only have 21 goals in 15 games.
The goals are spread amongst the team and they play a spread game, using the full length of the pitch. By operating in the half spaces more and manoeuvring in passing triangles, the team could see the game open up a lot more to create simple drag-back goals. The goals have been spread equally, with Jordan Archer, Jack Bainbridge and Marcus Carver already scoring multiple. If they want to go up the table, they must continue to be more relentless in front of the goal.
Everything has to start from somewhere. Newcastle used to underperform or produce false dawns constantly. However, with Howe, it appears they have a manager who has instilled habits that are repeatable over a Premier League season. Southport needs to keep its foot on the gas. It’s no use winning a few games only to stumble when they’re making real progress. By not continuously beating teams they should, getting into the promotion positions will be challenging. They must apply themselves and ensure they’re in the top six when it comes to the end of the season.
Southport has gotten off to a mixed start to the season, but there are signs of progress. If they can continue their rise, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them earn a promotion and move up a division.