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Previewing NUFC v. Southampton with a Saints supporter

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As kickoff of Newcastle's opening fixture of the 2015-16 season approaches, we continue our preparations by exchanging questions and answers with a Southampton supporter.

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Ed Note:  You can see the questions I answered for SMM here.

Kickoff of Newcastle United's opening match of the 2015-16 season is coming.  Southampton have made their way back to England following their victory over Vitesse Arnhem and will take the pitch at St. James' Park in just over 24 hours.  Continuing with our own preparations for the match, we have exchanged questions and answers with SBN's Southampton blog St. Mary's Musings. Managing Editor Jake Hughes was kind enough to sit down with us fresh off his trip to support the Saints in Arnhem.

CHN:  After another successful season, you've sold off another couple of massive pieces.  Is that easier to swallow when the process has been successful to this point?


SMM:  Most definitely. Last summer caught us Saints fans somewhat cold and this time around we have lost fewer players, have the confidence and momentum riding from last year and now truly know that no player is bigger than the club.

It also helps that it was pretty obvious we'd be losing Nathaniel Clyne, Morgan Schneiderlin and Toby Alderweireld.

Whether it's an acquisition form abroad or a youth talent raring to go, Saints always seem to have a contingency plan in place.

Also, after we proved the press wrong last season, they have been VERY quiet this summer and have not bothered trying to stir all this ridiculous hysteria they had last year.

CHN:  The Europa League can be a cruel reward for excellence.  Are you confident in the depth of your squad with the added fixture load?


SMM:  Who knows? There's a little bit of hope that Ronald Koeman's Europa League know-how could help us out if he knows some tricks of the trade of squad rotation.

Our squad started to deplete towards the end of last season. But, it looks like the Clyne and Schneiderlin money is being reinvested to create a larger squad.

CHN:  From an outside perspective, it looks like you're a little light at CB specifically - is that an incorrect assessment?


SMM:  That's spot on. After losing Alderweireld to Spuds, our Romanian centre half Florin Gardos has now come down with a bad knee injury so we now only have two first team choices this season.

We're constantly being linked to defenders right now - especially Celtic's Virgil van Dijk - so hopefully this gets resolved soon.

CHN:  You guys have scored goals for fun this preseason.  Are you confident the goals will keep flowing in the Premier League?


SMM:  I honestly think this all depends on the form of Graziano Pelle and the fitness of Jay Rodriguez. It's all well and good banging them in against Dutch teams but the Premier League is very, very different.

The goals dried up during some spells of last season which ultimately cost us the remote chance of finishing above 7th in the league. But, I'm hopeful.

CHN:  Fraser Forster is obviously a massive loss.  Who looks most set to fill in and how confident are you that they will be able to minimize the drop-off at the position?


SMM:  The aging Kelvin Davis and Paulo Gazzaniga are simply not good enough to ply their trades in the Premier League as proven on multiple occasions towards the end of last season.

Luckily, we have signed 'keeper Maarten Stekelenburg and he's looked handy so far.

CHN:  Which of your new signings is creating the most excitement within the fan base?


SMM:  I can't speak for for the everyone but both Cedric and Juanmi really excite me. Also, having Jay Rod back is like having a new signing all over again.

CHN:  Can we have Dusan Tadic?


SMM:  Based on the second half of last season, yes! Tadic's form dipped massively in the latter stages of the 2014-15 season and we really hope he can rediscover his early form at Southampton.

CHN:  Can Matt LeTissier do this?

SMM:  I have no idea what this link entails but I don't want to click off this email on my mobile in case I lose everything. But, yes

(Ed. note: nuh uh no way.)

CHN:  What are your predictions for Southampton this season (PL, EL, Cups)?


SMM:  With all the Europa League we may get should we qualify, I don't think our squad will hold up so well. I think - and would love - an 11th place finish like what Everton achieved last season despite the European obstacles.

I'd love a good cup run. We made it to the COC quarter finals last year, playing every round away from home and beating the likes of Stoke and Arsenal along the way... Before getting knocked out by League 1's Sheffield United.

CHN:  Obligatory match prediction


I think our squad - tired and leggy from Vitesse Arnhem away - will be fortunate to scrape a 1-1 draw.