Former player and current EFL pundit Adrian Clarke has issued a bold prediction that Southampton head coach Russell Martin will lose his job by the end of the season.
The Saints had a solid start to the campaign under their new manager, winning three and drawing once across the first four games, putting Martin’s side as many’s favourite to achieve promotion back to the Premier League. However, results have nose-dived in recent weeks.
Prior to the international break, Southampton were mauled 5-0 away at Sunderland which was followed up by a 4-1 defeat at home to promotion rivals Leicester City. Foxes striker Jamie Vardy opened the scoring for Enzo Maresca’s men within 30 seconds to signal the start of a dismal day for the club on the south coast.
The Saints had another chance to put things right in front of their own fans last night but Kieran McKenna’s high-flying Ipswich Town came away with all three points following a first-half strike from Omari Hutchinson. It was the third-straight loss for Southampton, piling further pressure on the former Swansea City manager so early into the season.
Ex-Carlisle United and Arsenal player Adrian Clarke is one man who has been left unimpressed with the 37-year-old’s permeable style of play.
Speaking on the What the EFL? Podcast on Monday, Clarke admitted he doesn’t believe that Southampton will earn promotion under Martin this season and has predicted that the coach will be dismissed by the end of the 2023/24 campaign [quotes via Football League World]:
“I don’t think they’ll get promoted under Russell Martin.
“I know that’s a big statement to make, but I just don’t think they will because Russell is all about what they do with the ball and not enough about the structure when they don’t. It’s hampered him in previous jobs and you can’t leave yourself that open.
“I think you’ve got to change it, I think you’ve got to be more pragmatic until your players are comfortable doing the things that you’re asking them to do.
“They are gifting too many goals to opposition teams and everyone’s going to look at that now,” Clarke continued.
“I can’t see Southampton going up with Russell Martin, I don’t think he’ll be the manager come the end of the season.”
Southampton are on a poor run of form right now, there’s certainly no denying that. If the Saints want to achieve automatic promotion, coming away from games against Sunderland, Leicester and Ipswich with zero points isn’t going to cut it.
However, there is a lot of talent in the squad with a superb coach who is capable of getting the best out of his players. It’s far too early to make a prediction on his future at the St. Mary’s Stadium.