Leeds United promotion rivals' bullish run-in claim as boss dismisses major issue

Russell Martin watched on as his Southampton side lost 3-2 to Ipswich Town on Monday night
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Southampton boss Russell Martin hasn't given up hope of winning automatic promotion back to the Premier League. The Saints' chances of claiming a spot in the top two took a huge hit on Monday night as they threw away a lead to lose 3-2 against league leaders Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

It's a result that leaves Southampton cut 12 points adrift of the top two in the Championship table, but they have a trump card or two still to play. Martin's side have two games in hand over Ipswich and Leeds United, while they still have to go to Leicester City and Elland Road, which could certainly help to swing promotion momentum back in their favour.

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Up next for the south coast outfit it's a trip to Blackburn Rovers and despite the result at Ipswich, they're approaching it with plenty of belief with Martin going as far as to tip his side to win all eight of their remaining eight games.

"It gives me huge amounts of confidence and encouragement about what is to come," Martin said of the performance in Suffolk. "We played brilliantly tonight, nobody can say anything else.

"I am not saying it’s not a blow, it hurts a lot, but we will only know how much of a blow it was in four weeks. It hurts but I don’t know if it’s gone, we have eight games and if we play like that I really think we can win all eight.

"That would put us on 98 points and I don’t think anyone has not got promoted on that, so we will aim for that while it’s still there."

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Southampton may have scored two against Ipswich, but they were wasteful in front of goal and Martin has dismissed the notion of there being more of a deep-rooted issue in attack.

"It’s not a technical thing, they can all score. Sometimes it was great defending or goalkeeping, maybe it’s just a lack of composure in certain times," Martin explained. "We have also conceded goals we shouldn’t have conceded so I am not going to blame anyone. We have scored a lot of goals this season so I don’t think it’s been a problem until now."