Woking v Southampton XI
7.45pm on Monday 3 August 2009
Graham Bakerâ€™s former club are the visitors tonight for the penultimate in the Cardsâ€™ very full pre-season campaign. Weâ€™ve met Southampton in friendlies on several occasions in recent years and theyâ€™ve usually been good games. But, as a reminder of how poor a guide friendlies can be to the season ahead, Woking fans will recall that Kim Grantâ€™s side won 4-0 in the corresponding fixture a year ago!
I hope to speak to Graham later this morning to find out what sort of side he will put out tonight. He will be anxious not to pick up, or aggravate, injuries with the season only a few days away but he will also want to make sure that his team are match fit. That suggests that we might see players such as Aswad Thomas (who missed Saturdayâ€™s game against Stevenage), Moses Ademola, Luke Medley and Sam Sloma plus fringe first team players such as Joe McNerney, Anson Cousins, Billy Hussey and Charlie Moone.
The Saints, like us, suffered relegation last season and now languish in Division 1: quite a come-down from the days when the Saints were a force in the old First Division, with players like Matt Le Tissier, Mick Channon, Kevin Keegan, Alan Ball and Alan Shearer in their ranks â€“ along with our own Graham of course! New Manager Alan Pardew is hastily putting his management team together, with Dean Wilkins appointed as Assistant Manager only a few days ago. The Saints begin their season on Saturday with a home game against Millwall.
The Saintsâ€™ line-up tonight is likely to be similar to that at Farnborough a week ago when a mix of reserves and Academy players lost 2-1, with the Saintsâ€™ goal coming from a wonder strike from Jake Thomson. The Saintsâ€™ youth set-up has produced some terrific players in recent years, with Theo Walcott being the most obvious example, and there will no doubt be some future stars on view tonight. Bobby Scott, a 16 year-old striker, was the top scorer for the Academy last season and other players at Farnborough included Morgan Schneiderlin and Oscar Gobern.
Come on, you Cards!
Log onto www.wokingfc.co.uk for a match report
P.S. Donâ€™t forget that the Cards play their final friendly at Westfield tomorrow (Tuesday) evening. Please note that kick-off is at 7.30pm.