Russell Martin would not need ‘ache’ of Southampton exit as he eyes reaching Prem

Russell Martin has no plans to jump the Southampton ship – win or lose the Championship Play-Off final.

Since securing automatic promotion into the Premier League earlier this month, Leicester boss Enzo Maresca and his Ipswich counterpart Kieran McKenna have suddenly found themselves on the radar of the big clubs. Not just any clubs, either.

Manchester United are chasing McKenna, who along with King Power coach Maresca is also on Chelsea ’s short-list of potential successors for departed Mauricio Pochettino. So does Martin expect his name to be thrown in the frame should he follow them into the English elite by masterminding a Saints victory over Leeds today at Wembley?

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Ahead of the most lucrative one-off clash in world football, with an estimated £250million on the line, the St Mary’s coach laughed at the suggestion. Martin, cautiously optimistic the Southampton hierarchy will stick with him whatever the outcome against Daniel Farke’s Yorkshiremen, declared: “No, I don’t think so!

“Look, the Championship is full of good coaches. Those two have earned the opportunity to work in the Premier League.

Do you think Russel Martin should be considered for a Premier League job? Let us know in the comments section below.

Southampton manager Russell Martin speaks with his players
Southampton manager Russell Martin speaks with his players

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“I think it’s really great they’re going to end up there with their current teams or if they’re being linked to other clubs. It’s great for them – and it also shows the quality of the Championship, for sure.”

Having exited his previous two clubs, MK Dons and Swansea, without making it into a third campaign, Martin is keen to set a personal best on the South Coast. The former Scotland and Norwich defender, 38, explained: “I haven’t spent more than two seasons at a club, for various reasons.

“So, yes, I’d like to beat that at some point. But I’m very grateful for the two years I had at those other clubs and for this opportunity here because it’s tough as a manager. Tenures aren’t too long.

“We loved it at Swansea but just didn’t feel we’d have the sort of opportunity we have now here. When this job came up, with the size of the club and with what we wanted to achieve, it was just too big.

Southampton manager Russell Martin leading a training session
Southampton manager Russell Martin leading a training session

“But it was painful to leave those clubs like we did and I don’t want to feel that pain again of having to do it so quickly. Football is so reactive but at some point you want to put your stamp and mark somewhere. Hopefully, that can be here and this is the time.”

Martin reckons there is nothing to split Leeds and Southampton, who finished third and fourth in the table, respectively, as they both bid to bounce straight back up at the first attempt.

He added: “Both of us have players who can produce those top moments out of nowhere – and you hope for that to happen. You want someone to create something but I think our team is always much stronger when we’re playing together.

“If we can get our rhythm and into the flow of the game, then we’ll rely less on that one moment.”