Welling Utd vs Saints XI: Preview

By SFC Media time Mon 29 Jul Club

A Southampton XI travels to Conference outfit Welling United on Tuesday evening as the Development Squad continues its preparations for the new season.

The team that visits south-east London will mainly consist of players from the Club's Under-21 side, who have started pre-season impressively.

Bolstered by a number of senior players, Saints beat Conference South neighbours Eastleigh 1-0 last Friday night thanks to a second-half penalty from Tadanari Lee.

The Under-21s are unbeaten in pre-season, having begun with a 4-1 win over Sholing before a week-long trip to the north east, where comfortable victories over Middlesbrough and Newcastle sandwiched a draw with Sunderland.

Tomorrow night's team heads to Park View Road in the knowledge that there is less than a fortnight left until the new Barclays U21 Premier League season gets underway.

Saints' youngsters open their schedule on Monday 12th August as they travel to the side that last season narrowly pipped them to a place in the play-offs, Liverpool.

They will play a further two friendlies after their trip to Welling, taking on Brighton's Under-21s this Saturday and then their West Ham United counterparts at Staplewood four days later.

As for tomorrow's match, coach Martin Hunter may again call on senior players such as Lee Barnard, Billy Sharp, Steve De Ridder and Jonathan Forte, who all featured against Eastleigh on Friday.

Aaron Martin captained the side that night, but was forced off during the first half with an injury and looks unlikely to be available at Park View Road.

Welling, who are newly-promoted having been crowned Conference South champions in 2012/13, have already played eight matches this pre-season.

They were beaten 5-0 by Charlton Athletic, but also recorded a 4-2 victory over a Millwall XI ahead of their first season at the top level of non-league football since being relegated in 1999.

Among the Wings' famous former players is ex-Saint Andy Townsend, who began his career with the south London outfit before going on to move to The Dell in 1985.

Their squad includes a number of players who began their careers with Premier League and Championship clubs. Defender Fraser Franks, for example, started out in the youth team at Chelsea, where he played alongside current Saints midfielder Jack Cork.

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