DERBY DRAW A MINOR HICCUP - ADKINS
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins insists his side are still on track for promotion despite late heartache in the south coast derby with Portsmouth.
Saints moved top of the npower Championship on goal difference but would have had a two-point cushion had David Norris not struck deep into stoppage time to secure a 2-2 draw.
Billy Sharp looked to have earned Southampton three points when he poked home in the 89th minute, before Pompey gleefully ruined the party at St Mary's.
Saints will look for a return to winning ways at Crystal Palace on Monday and Adkins has backed his side to bounce back despite his players looking despondent after the game.
"It is strange to see that when a team has just gone back top of the league, isn't it?" he said. "The players will get well reminded of that.
"I think it underlines how passionate the players and management are. It was a special day in respect of what we wanted to do for the supporters because we know how much it means to them.
"We were so near but for a very, very good strike from their player at the end. We got a share of the spoils and one point, not no points.
"We were not defeated and it puts us back top of the league and the supporters were able to sing that again at the end of the game."
Southampton might be top but both Reading and West Ham are hot on their heels in the hunt for automatic promotion.
Asked if he thought his side would be in the Premier League next season, Adkins simply retorted: "Yes. We are taking one game at a time now.
"We've led the division for a long period and we go back top of the league.
"We did it all last season, we'll do it all this season. We'll analyse it, put it to bed and the lads are already taking care of business because we know it is a quick turnaround for Monday's game.
"We get ourselves ready for then because that is now the most important game."
While Southampton's promotion hunt continues, Pompey's survival hopes were boosted by Saturday's hard-earned point.
The visitors twice came back from Sharp goals, with Chris Maguire's exquisite strike in the first half and then Norris late on to the relief of manager Michael Appleton.
"I have mixed emotions after that," he said. "Happy, relieved, frustrated - a mixture of all of them.
"I would have been very frustrated if we hadn't come away from here with a point so I suppose you have to be happy to come back for the second time in the 93rd minute to get something out of the game.
"It is obviously a concern when you concede in the 89th minute as to whether you have enough to come back, especially after what happened to us last week [with the 5-1 home defeat to Burnley].
"The biggest thing I asked the players to do was deal with disappointment.
"We have had to do that twice and the way we did it the second time was just a credit to the players."
Latest Football News at 18:00 BST