Premier League

Time for change: Pellegrino must opt for this Southampton starlet against West Brom

Southampton supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side go down 2-0 at home to Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, thus slipping back into the division’s bottom three.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s men went into their clash with the Reds off the back of beating West Brom 3-2 in their preceding league encounter, a result which moved them out of the relegation zone. Yet victories for Newcastle United, Swansea City, and Huddersfield Town saw the Saints slip back into the bottom three, and they were unable to get out of it as goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah sealed a routine success for the Merseyside giants, thus condemning Southampton to an 11th defeat of the season.

Subsequently, there have been many disappointed Saints fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are hoping for some respite when their team face West Brom in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

And several of our resident Southampton supporters are calling for Pellegrino to make a few changes at the Hawthorns to give some fringe players an opportunity, with many hoping that young starlet Josh Sims will be given the nod.

The 20-year-old winger burst onto the scene last season in making his debut for the club in their 1-0 victory over Everton in November 2016, with the youngster grabbing an assist just a minute into the contest as his cross found the head of Charlie Austin, who gave Claude Puel’s side the lead.

And while Sims did muster a few more appearances in the second half of the campaign, he has managed just one minute of senior action under Pellegrino this term, which is quite baffling given how toothless and blunt his Saints side has looked going forward throughout the campaign.

Nonetheless, the 20-year-old did make the bench for their FA Cup third round success at Fulham to suggest that he’s not miles away from the first team, and what better way to reintroduce him that at West Brom on Saturday, in a game which surely takes on lesser significance for both sides given their current league plights.

Yet the winger may well be able to bring the sort of trickery and attacking flair that has seemingly evaded Southampton this season if played on Saturday, which could well give the side a new lease of life heading into the final few matches of the campaign.

Ultimately, things clearly aren’t working brilliantly at Southampton. They are very much in a relegation battle and haven’t looked like getting out of it for much of the past few weeks, so this weekend’s FA Cup clash gives Pellegrino an opportunity to try and reinstall some confidence in his players.

And bringing in Sims, who hasn’t really had a chance to build upon his incredible debut 18 months ago, could be exactly what they need, not only to win and book their place in the last eight of the FA Cup, but to also give them a boost in their quest to avoid Premier League relegation.

Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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