Southampton are steadily approaching the end of their time out at our training camp in China. Having already played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with German side Schalke 04, Wednesday sees us face Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning out in Xuzhou.
Following that game, we fly to Beijing where we will journey home.
The first friendly saw two different starting XI’s in each half, but Hughes has intimated that this game will see some players potentially get at least an hour under their belts as he takes a slightly different approach to the match.
Speaking to saintsfc as he met with club staff to preview the game, Hughes explained that with a solid 45 minutes under the belts, he felt that giving people extra minutes in this game would help bring them on further in their battle for fitness ahead of the coming 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
“The majority of the team had a good 45 minutes, and we’ll probably try to put maybe 60 minutes into some of the guys, while others will have 30 minutes or so. We’ve got lots of time, we’ve got plenty of games, so everybody will have a decent amount of exposure to game time, which is important.”
Hughes also spoke of wanting to see more intensity from the squad in this game as they push themselves and he knows improved weather conditions would certainly help that as this match will be a lot less humid than our opening game.
Whilst undoubtedly we still have a few players that we’d like to add to the group this summer, and the transfer window rumour mill certainly implies that with announcements expected soon in regards to Angus Gunn and Jannik Vestergaard in particular. There may be a hint or two in who he chooses to give the extended minutes to for this match.
It won’t guarantee anything but he’ll already be looking towards the opening day clash with Burnley on Sunday, August 12 as he’ll want that group of 18 to be in peak condition as anyone not in his thoughts will get the extra week of training to get to 100% if needed.
After last season, bottom line is simply that Hughes will want to hit the game running so my guess is at least the majority who get an hour will be almost nailed on to start.