Adam Randell

Southampton (H) | Randell's Preview

Sync Fixture

Assessing the Sky Bet Championship’s line-up of teams ahead of this 2023/24 season, plenty would understandably consider Southampton as one of the favourites for promotion.

It would by no means be a big leap to make such a prediction. Despite losing several high-profile players – for no small recompense – their squad list reads very strongly, and their start to the season would seem to back up the assertion that they will be a tough prospect for all opponents they face.

Said opponents this weekend are Argyle, and midfielder Adam Randell is among those looking forward to seeing how the Greens match up against a side who, three league games ago were playing Liverpool in the Premier League.

At the same time as Saints’ top-flight status was ebbing away from them, Argyle were going about winning League One in order to join the Championship ranks. It is understandable, perhaps, if the side in red-and-white have their sights on returning to the division that hosted them last season, while Argyle’s primary focus is avoiding to their league of last term.

Randell agrees – but says survival is not the limit of Argyle’s ambitions, as the sides prepare to meet on Saturday lunchtime.

“It'll be a good test for us,” said Adam. “I really want to test myself against the best. That's what you want to do as a footballer; you want to see how you compare to the best teams and the best players. To have them coming down here and giving us a challenge is exactly what we want.

“They're obviously expected to do well this season. They've got a good squad, but that's not to take anything away from us. I think we can go out and compete - and get a result. There's nothing stopping us, if we're on our game, from being a real threat to them.

“Realistically, everyone's eyes are on us staying up, myself included. That's the number one goal. We want to look further and look higher, when the time comes, but everyone's original target is to stay in the league for next season.

“Then, hopefully, we can push on from there and start pushing up the table come the end of the season. Who knows? We might be pushing for the playoffs or even a bit higher than that.”

It is early days in the Championship season, but Argyle are going about things in the right way thus far. A 3-1 win at home to Huddersfield Town was followed by a 0-0 draw at Watford, as the Greens went toe-to-toe with another side who plenty would expect to be nearer the top of the league than bottom when May arrives.

Randell has now reached 84 appearances in the green and white, with the most recent two being his first in England’s second tier. He has noticed a difference, but is clearly up for the task.

“The speed of everything is a lot quicker,” he said. “Everyone runs that little bit faster. Everyone's a bit stronger.

“The teams that we've played, especially Watford, were good at keeping the ball. We knew that going into the game and they made us work hard off the ball. Both games were battles at times and they were tough, but we managed to grind our way through them.

“It's been a brilliant start. We've had a couple of good results. Personally, I've really enjoyed feeling the level of the games rather than expecting it and waiting to see what it's going to be like.

“It's been a challenge for us already and it's going to continue being that way.”

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