Q:What do you see the top 6 looking like come end of the season?
A:I firmly believe we’ll be in the top six next season. Confidence was pretty low following relegation last season but Irvine has strengthened the side a lot better than many of us imagined with some good signings. To boot, we’ve not let any players go yet, and we expected a good 2/3 of our better talents to leave.
As for other teams, many of us regard Southampton as our biggest threat. You seemed to finish last season on fire and with a good start this year you’ve got to be up there as favourites. Huddersfield will be up there too. They had a good season last season, have a good manager and seem to have strengthened well. And Peterborough have got to be another safe bet to get in the top six I think. Other teams that could be up there are Colchester, Plymouth, Charlton and maybe even Notts County.
Q:Our first match up with your side will be an away match in September, what are your thoughts on your chances against us and predictions for the home and away games?
A:It’s probably a bit too early to tell for predictions, but I’d hope to be winning our home games, and trying to pick up a point away from home if we want to be up there at the end of the season. To be honest though, at present I’d take a win at home and defeat away. They’re going to be the two highlight matches for next season I’m sure.
Q:your club have pulled off some decent signings and kept the majority of your squad, but the past has shown that you have struggled to get out of this division beforehand – do you believe that things will be different this time?
A:Definitely. We’ve been here not too long ago and we know what it’s like. Some of the players in our squad do, too, it’s not like we’ve come down with so-called ‘big players’ who haven’t experienced it before. We know it’s not going to be pretty football, we just need to get out of the division any way we can, and I think we now have a squad for that.
Q:With that In mind who do you believe is your talisman/key player for this season who we should watch out for and someone who will spearhead your season?
A:Again, it’s hard to tell at the moment as we’ve had quite an influx of players, and players who will probably be first team players. It’s easy to say Clinton Morrison now, a great signing for this level and someone who can get goals at a higher level, never mind League One. But we’ve also signed Gary Teale who should be good in this division, and have competition up front from Neil Mellor and Paul Heffernan.
Darren Purse, one of our players from last season, will also be key, as will goalkeeper Lee Grant if we can keep hold of him.
At a push, I’d have to go for Morrison with his goals for next season.
Q:young prospects/dark horses – in terms of unspoken heroes, who do you believe will be the unexpected big performer in your side this year?
A:We’re saying dark horses, it’d have to be a very dark horse in Darren Potter next season. He played in centre midfield throughout last season and was often the scapegoat, to be honest he didn’t cover himself in glory at all. But who knows, maybe dropping down the division we’ll see a different Potter and he be a good player for us next season?
Young prospect would be Liam Palmer, although I’m not sure he’s ready for first team football just yet. Maybe a few run outs as a substitute or in the League Cup would do him some good, but if he’s not in the squad this season he should be breaking through next.
Q:One thing that will interest Saint’s fans is your signing of Jon Otsemobor – semi was a large disappointment for us last season and are you hopeful that Irvine will get the best out of him?
A:Getting the best out of him seems to be recurring theme from you lot and Norwich, too, which is slightly worrying. We’ve heard that on his day he can be a very good player, so hopefully Irvine will be able to get those good days out of him more than not. He’ll have competition in that position anyway, so he may not necessarily be a first team start on the opening day.
END OF INTERVIEW
Thanks to Nickswfc for providing his time for this interview and Sheffield wednesdays Vital will be following up with an interview from our side on the upcoming season.
You can visit Vital Wednesday at Sheffwed.vitalfootball.co.uk