Writer: Daniel Bailey
Date:Thursday February 19 2009
Saints' star Adam Lallana is fit again and raring to go as his team try to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.
The 20-year-old has missed a considerable amount of football since the new year, with injuries and a dip in form preventing the England Under-21 international from playing as reguarly as he'd have liked.
However, the youngster is now 100% fit again and Lallana has upped his game in a bid to regain his starting role.
Speaking to the club's official site, he said, "I feel 100% again now. I know that I've had to work hard on the training pitch recently because I haven't been playing as well as I would like to have done since coming back.
"I really want to get back in the team so I know that I've got to work hard," he added. "Everyone has a drop of form at some stage and you just have to take it on the chin and get back out there.
"I needed the break though because I have felt the effects of my first full season. I may have come back a little early because I had to have an injection after the Doncaster game, but I am fully fit now and I want to show people what I can do again."
Lallana came off the bench for the Saints during last Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Bristol City, but the attacking midfielder is looking for a starting role when Preston visit St Mary's this weekend, and he emphasised the importance of making a good start to the game.
"It is important to get the first goal in the match," Lallana explained. "Against Swansea we did that and it helped us when we went down to ten men because we showed a great spirit to come back. I think it can be vital to score first and then move on from there.
"We need the win to get the ball rolling and to give something to our fans. Since Mark Wotte has come in there has been a new structure and it's important that we get wins now.
"It's getting to that vital stage where we really need wins," he continued. "We appear to not have been getting the rub of the green, but as they say 'you make your own luck' so we just need to keep believing in what we are doing.
"We can't let the pressure get to us because it does become harder when people start talking about things and when it goes 10, 11, 12, 13 games without a win or whatever. Of course it gets mentioned but we just have to concentrate on the job in hand and treat the next match as another game, albeit a very important one."
Back in November, Saints showed their fighting spirit to come back from 2-0 down against Preston, and they went on to win the game 3-2 thanks to a late goal from David McGoldrick. Lallana believes that that performance just shows what the south coast club are capable of producing on their day.
"The win at their place showed what we are capable of because coming back from 2-0 down to win is not an easy thing to do," he commented. "We've beaten them before and we've just got to do it again and it would be massive if we could get three points on Saturday.
"Preston seem to have taken the league by surprise because they have gone about their business quietly and now they're up in the playoffs. It just shows what can happen because if you look at Doncaster who have won six of their last seven they now look safe, but before Christmas people had written them off."
A repeat of the reverse fixture at Deepdale would more than dangle a few nerves, but the young midfielder believes that that sort of character will be needed for Saints to pull away from danger.
"Being a local lad and a Saints supporter, it means everything to me to get the team out of trouble and I think that all the lads that are 100% fit need to pull together and give it their all. I am desperate to get out there and play again!"
Date:Thursday February 19 2009
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