Writer: Mike Field
Date:Thursday September 20 2012
Well we haven't done this for a while, we're off to St Mary's this weekend so I popped over to Vital Saints for a chat with Vital Saint!
1) What are you expecting from the season?
Survival. There are high ambitions at the club, you probably don't know, but Adkins was talking about looking towards Europe as the clubs' ultimate aim over time, but for this season, not yoyoing I'd imagine everyone will be fine with. Doesn't matter by how many points we survive, even goal difference would work for me, as long as we can build in the Premiership for more success.
2) Were there any highlights or lowlights from your pre season?
Results were a bit of a mixed bag, but the performances were good. The highlights really would be the players we've gone after in the transfer market with the board backing Adkins with a very good amount for players who should serve us well in the future like Gaston Ramirez.
3) How do you feel your club did in the transfer window?
As above, fantastically well if you're looking at exciting signings. Jay Rodriguez, Gaston Ramirez, Steven Davis, Nathaniel Clyne and then less known, but equally rated the likes of Mayuka and Yoshida.
A good blend of experience, and youth who want to push on.
4) Has anybody left who you think has seriously weakened the team?
The departure of Billy Sharp on loan was a bit of a shock really and Dean Hammond are the only two who stand out for me.
5) Who is going to be your main dangerman when we play?
Ramirez looks to have settled in quite well going off his last performance, so I'd expect him to have more of an influence next time out, but obviously Rickie Lambert will cause you most problems.
6) What are your weaknesses, any clues for the game will be appreciated :-)
Performance wise (ignoring Arsenal) we've been playing really well and have just been undone by momentary lapses. That will be our biggest weakness potentially, because we have to stop ourselves from switching off after all the hard work has been put in.
7) Will you have anyone out who would otherwise play?
Not that I'm aware of at the moment. Jack Cork is still out injured though.
Now with a slightly more Claret and Blue angle...
8) Are you surprised to see how Villa struggled last season and do you think we will again this time round?
Not particularly given the manager and his style of play, which from the little I saw, just took your best players out of the game. Lambert seems to share the same philosophy as Adkins in terms of playing the game the right way, and wanting the players to care at all times, so whilst I don't see you achieving much this season, I'd imagine you will be looking at a more comfortable league finish for him to build on.
9) Do you have any thoughts on Paul Lambert?
As above, a tough, single minded manager who is determined to get what he wants from players, but knows when an arm around the shoulder will do more than an outright rollocking. I think given time, and support, he'll do a very good job for you.
10) What have you made of our youth promotions last/this season, anybody caught the eye for you?
I really haven't seen enough to comment on your youngsters.
11) Who has stood out most from our recent acquisitions for you?
From highlights this season, El Ahmadi seems very assured, and Ron Vlaar looks to be in the mould of a typical English centre half, but more cultured.
12) If you could take one of our players, who would it be and why?
Darren Bent, knows where the goal is, has the experience of the league and would give us a different option upfront.
13) Who do you see as our main threat in the game?
Bent again for obvious reasons. If we switch off at the back as we have done in previous games, Bent is exactly the type of player who can capitalise on that and make us pay.
14) Where would you say our current weaknesses are in terms of how you will approach the match?
You are improving as the games go on, but I don't think you've fully clicked yet so the team's unfamiliarality with each other and Lambert's tactics should produce gaps and misunderstandings we can take advanatge of. If we can win the midfield battle and keep Bent out of the game, we should have enough to cause you plenty of problems in defence which seems to be a bit leaky.
15) Finally, a prediction please kind person...
We are desperate to pick up some points and with the home fans behind the team I do think you'll find it difficult. I'm not sure I can see an easy winner here for either team, so 1-1 maybe.
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Date:Thursday September 20 2012
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