Writer: Daniel Bailey
Date:Friday April 3 2009
Southampton Head Coach Mark Wotte has issued a rallying cry to all the club's supporters.
With the club's parent company having entered administration yesterday, the Saints' long-term future is very much in the balance.
With that in mind, the 48-year-old has called on the club's supporters to fill St Mary's on Saturday to help his side storm to victory against Charlton.
Speaking to the club's official website, Wotte said, "I urge everyone to come out together and join us in our beautiful stadium on Saturday. The team is working very hard to get the best possible results, so come and support us like you have done all season but hopefully we will have a few thousand more people joining us.
"We want to play in front of 32,000 people because everybody in football wants to play in front of a full stadium," Wotte stressed. "To be honest I know that the results haven't been great in recent times so I understand why fans have been hesitant in coming to games. However, if as many fans as possible come for the final three home games of the season then it will be a massive lift for us and it would be fantastic to see."
After a two-week international break, there was concern that some players would return to club duty with a few niggling injuries. However, that hasn't been the case, and with the exception of Simon Gillett and the long-term absentees, Wotte has a fully fit squad to choose from.
"We had a good break so everybody is ready for it. There is no fatigue or any small injuries. The lads are good professionals who are prepared well, so they will be able to play four games in nine days without any problems.
"They are very well, only Simon Gillett is unavailable. Jason Euell is looking good and he has recovered quickly from his hamstring injury. David McGoldrick and Lee Holmes are available so player wise I think we are ready for Saturday.
"This weekend is the most important game but then we go to Watford and we prepare again in the same way.
"Charlton are not a bad team, they only lost 2-1 at Wolves recently. The performances have been have been OK but we need to make sure that when they come to St Mary's that we beat them."
The Dutchman has also commented on the situation surrounding the goings on off the field as the existing PLC board stepped down and the administrators moved in.
"As far as I am concerned it is business as usual," he explained. "We have been working very hard to prepare ourselves for the last seven games of the season and we are doing everything that we can in order to stay in the Championship.
"I knew from day one that the financial situation at the football club was not a good one, but I can't control any of that. I am only in charge of the football business and we've done OK for the last couple of months on that front.
"We're still battling to stay in the Championship, so for me nothing has changed. I remain working closely with my players on a daily basis to prepare them to do the best job possible for Southampton Football Club."
Despite all the turmoil off the pitch, Wotte feels the players deserve credit for dealing with everything in the right way and concentrating on their job; to keep Southampton FC in the Championship.
"It is not the first time that there have been headlines about the football club in the papers, but the players have remained professional throughout," he stated. "I broke the news to them yesterday that the club's parent company was having some financial problems, but they understood that the club has to remain doing its job. There is a lot of talent in this team and we have a good blend at the club with a terrific Academy that performs well.
"It is up to us to do our job on a daily basis and it is up to other people to sort out the finances. We are keeping our focus on the Charlton game which is a massive game for us but we are ready for it. My players are 100% motivated no matter what happens off the pitch.
"We have four games in nine days coming up so there is no time to think about these things. The concentration is only on football and it is my job to do that and I will be doing my best with everyone. Then at the start of May we will know our future."
The Dutch boss concluded by reiterating his faith in the people of Southampton and confirmed his belief in what supporters can do for the club at this difficult time.
"The fans have been fantastic for us so far," he enthused. "At Blackpool we had great support and recently St Mary's has been a pleasure to play at especially during the Cardiff City and Preston games.
"The attitude and commitment from the boys at this club has been fantastic and hopefully the rest of Southampton will now do the same.
"Every game is massive for us and we need as many points on the board as we can and we need them the sooner the better. I'm confident that this stadium will be full on Saturday because nobody wants to see the club go down so I'm sure that this will be a great place to play football this weekend.
"Saturday is a must win game for us so it is very important we keep three clubs below us until the end of the season. It is up to us to do it and I'm confident that we will."
Date:Friday April 3 2009
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