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Sheffield United Women v Southampton F.C. Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship

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Lasses Fan Focus: “It’s been amazing to be a part of the journey,” say Saints supporters!

Ahead of today’s game we spoke to Southampton fans Shannon Stephen and Chris Walker. What can Sunderland Women expect when they take on the newly promoted Saints?

Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images

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Roker Report: Thank you for speaking to us. Southampton currently find themselves in the dizzying heights of 3rd in the league after gaining promotion to the division last season. How would you rate Southampton's performance so far?

Shannon Stephen & Chris Walker: How would we rate Southampton's performance so far? Well, they’ve played amazingly. Going into a new professional league with teams who are very used to how the Championship works is very daunting, but the girls have done exceptionally this far and climbed the table.

We had a shaky start (and a dodgy ref) with our first match but that was always to be expected. They’ve warmed themselves into the league and definitely have found their feet.

RR: What is behind this huge resurgence of Southampton. The team has been promoted each consecutive year, hasn’t it?

SS & CW: I think what’s behind it is the determination and passion that this whole team and staff have. These girls have worked so incredibly hard to get to where they are today. They were formed in 2017 and have earned back-to-back promotions (one year was curtailed due to covid) which is incredible. It’s been amazing to be a part of that journey and witness it too.

Sheffield United Women v Southampton F.C. Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images

RR: How is the support from the men's team? Do you feel like they promote the club and invest into the women's side?

SS & CW: Following the success of the Euros, the Club have made a statement of intent, where they have named St Mary’s as the women's Home ground. However, it feels that a massive improvement needs to be made with regards to promoting the games on social media. Sometimes it feels that the Supporters group get there first with regards to this.

We’ll keep pushing as we aren’t going to go away.

RR: What did you make of your transfer business in the summer? Happy with the additions, some big losses, or still need to add more?

SS & CW: We’re quite happy with the new additions that have come in on this window. I think we have made some real astute additions. Although we did also lose some of our big players who were part of the reason this team has got to where it is today. We worry about injuries and compared to some squads… we have a fairly small team.

But we also have the Development team that are nipping at the heels of our First Team. We have a real knack for promoting from within and we would like to see that continue.

Southampton FC v Birmingham City - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images

RR: Is anyone currently having a breakout season or someone you suspect will breakout. Or will you likely be relying on key players?

SS & CW: That's a really tough question. I think anyone in this team can be real break-out stars as they’re all amazing in their own field and have qualities that absolutely shine. We don’t really have key players; we have a team who work as a collective.

Southampton v Charlton: Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Alex Davidson - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

RR: Who would you say could be a thorn in the side for Sunderland? Who do we need to look out for?

SS & CW: Ah that’s a tricky one, I don’t think I could name just one player, we are kind of a side that attacks and defends as a team. There aren’t standouts as they all have their parts to play.

Crystal Palace Women v Southampton F.C. Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

RR: What is the match day experience like for fans? Anything of our away support should know or look forward to?

SS & CW: Well to start off with all the staff and stewards within the ground are lovely, welcoming and very helpful. The atmosphere is always great before the matches, and you can really see a great love for the team.

The club always have activities for the kids, whether it be outside the ground, inside the stadium or at half time. There’s always something for everyone.

We have the Saints Brass band and halftime entertainment - usually the relay, which is great fun to watch. Food and refreshments are available in the concourse.

Southampton v Charlton: Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Alex Davidson - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

RR: It’s always tough to give score predictions, but how do you see this game panning out?

SS & CW: Football is a very unpredictable sport, and anything can happen. Although, I feel like it’s going to be pretty even based but with Saints having the upper edge, I’m saying that because of how well we’ve been playing lately. We’ve really found our feet in the league now. As far as predictions go, I think it’s going to be 2-0 Saints.

RR: And lastly, what are your expectations for Southampton this season? The last time we spoke, it was just about surviving and competing in the league. Have expectations changed? Is promotion possible?

SS & CW: It’s a tough League, and every game is the opportunity to turn up and give a performance. We are not taking any game for granted and respect each side we come up against. I would say our prediction has changed slightly, we want to establish ourselves in this League and will be pushing for mid-table rather than just surviving. We aren’t expecting anything but are enjoying the journey.

Sheffield United Women v Southampton F.C. Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images

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