Leeds United v Southampton: Saints boss ready for crunch clash

Nigel Adkins.

Nigel Adkins.

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Southampton boss Nigel Adkins feels the pressure will be on Leeds United when his table-topping side visit Elland Road on Saturday.

With second-placed West Ham - who have a game in hand - not in action until Sunday when they travel to play-off contenders Cardiff, the Saints have a chance to open up a four-point lead at the npower Championship summit if they can claim a victory from their trip to West Yorkshire.

Adkins believes the real weight of expectation will be on the hosts, though, who recently replaced manager Simon Grayson with Neil Warnock and are currently four points off the play-off places in 10th.

“They have changed their manager, and it isn’t for me to comment on other football clubs, but there have been a few clubs of late that have changed their manager to try to get themselves promoted,” Adkins told www.saintsfc.co.uk.

“I thought Simon was doing a good job up at Leeds, but they have changed it around and brought Neil in to get them into the play-off positions and maybe even the automatics - but they can’t afford to be losing many more games.

“There is a lot of pressure on Leeds to win the game, and I think it will be played with a lot of intensity and we have to deal with that.”

Southampton go into the game unbeaten in six league matches and Adkins is confident his players will be able to handle the occasion.

“There will probably be 35,000 people in the ground so there will be a lot of noise, a great atmosphere and one that we have to go and manage as well as possible,” he said.

“We have a big crowd at Southampton every week, so it isn’t something we will worry about - West Ham a couple of weeks ago was another big one so we are used to it. We have to go up to Yorkshire and the experience that the players have gained this season puts them in a very good position.

“We have been on a really good run of form, with some good results and great performances, so we go up to Elland Road full of confidence.”

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