Southern: We are ‘big guns’ now

Blackpool stalwart Keith Southern
Blackpool stalwart Keith Southern
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KEITH Southern says Pool face a “massive task” next season because the rest of the Championship clubs will be aiming to cut them down to size.

The Seasiders’ season in the Premier League won them admirers throughout the land, but it also means they will be one of the big names in the second tier ... and Southern knows that brings new problems.

The midfielder said: “Without being pessimistic, the task facing us is massive because the teams that come down are, rightly or wrongly, instantly named among the favourites to go back up.

“You are coming back down into a really tough division and you are there to be shot down if you don’t start well.

“There will be some terrific sides in this league and they will be thinking, ‘These lads played in the Premier League last season – let’s turn them over’.”

Asked if it would be difficult to motivate themselves in the Championship after their year in the sun, Southern replied: “It shouldn’t be. We played in the Championship for three seasons before we got promoted, so we know how difficult it is. It is a real quality division. There are some fantastic clubs in it and lots of great stadiums.

“OK, it isn’t the Premier League but we have to get on with it and hopefully we’ll bounce back stronger.

“There will be a lot of upheaval ahead, with players coming in and out, but that is football.

“It happens at every club, and hopefully the manager will get the right balance between youth and experience and we’ll kick on.

“Hopefully we’ll have a right good go and in a year’s time we might be talking about another fantastic season.”

Southern had a frustrating season in the Premier League. He missed the first two months through injury and didn’t really break into the side until the closing stages of the campaign.

His best run came right at the death – he started the last five games, of which Pool’s only defeat was at Old Trafford on the final day.