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Hunter itching for Canaries contest

Coach Martin Hunter giving a half-time team talk to Saints Under-21s.

Image by: Paul Watts/Southampton FC

PUBLISHED

17:45 19th March 2014

by Alex Urquhart-Cannon

Martin Hunter can’t wait for Saints Development Squad’s match against Norwich next Monday after a 3-0 victory over league leaders Fulham.

Southampton Under-21s’ fourth consecutive win has strengthened their bid to qualify for the Barclays Under-21 Premier League’s final stage – play-offs that include the top four teams when the season ends – and Hunter wants to stretch their winning run further.

Saints welcome Norwich on Monday in the first of three games that could decide the third-placed side’s fate, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Sunderland all chasing on four points less.

“I’m very pleased for the players,” Hunter enthused to Saints Player. “That’s obviously four wins on the trot now. There have been some little targets that we’ve set them and that’s another one achieved.

“We’ll be looking forward to the next game straight away – it was very pleasing today.

“The way we started was very pleasing. The first goal was well-worked and the second was even better – credit to our players. I know they (Fulham) had a Youth Cup game last night but you deal with situations.

“Our aim was to win four games – now it’s three. Then, we will see where that takes us. We’ve played two more games than quite a few of the other teams but that (the final stage) is definitely what we’re aiming for.”

Hunter reserved special praise for Ryan Seager – who opened the scoring after the coach handed him his first U21 start since November – and the more experienced players that featured such as Calum Chambers and Paulo Gazzaniga, who provided calming presences and aided the youngsters throughout the encounter.

“I thought he (Seager) was terrific,” the U21 boss assessed. “His contribution to the team, particularly from an attacking point of view, was very good. His awareness and ability to find space and read where the second possession is coming was very good.

“They are all young players – we mustn’t forget that. Paulo [Gazzaniga] is young, but being around the First Team gives them experience. They were a calming influence for most of the time on the team.”

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