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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
The James Beattie column
James Beattie


The transfer deadline is at the end of the week and I reckon that it favours the bigger clubs with large squads.

Clubs have until 31 August to strengthen and after that they will have to survive until January - when the transfer window briefly re-opens - on the resources they have available.

The likes of Manchester United and Arsenal can suffer several injuries in a certain position and still call on quality cover.

James Beattie in action against Liverpool
Opportunities are always at a premium against Liverpool
But some of the Premiership's so-called lesser clubs will be hit hard by a couple of injuries in a key area.

Down the years teams such as Southampton have often reacted to an injury crisis by going out and signing players on loan.

But with the transfer deadline this appears to no longer be an option and I think you will hear about some pretty desperate situations between now and January.

And I reckon you can expect to see a big scramble between now and the end of the week as managers try to bolster their squads, as Saints boss Gordon Strachan - the gaffer - has done by signing goalkeeper Antti Niemi.

But I don't think you'll really see too much in the way of panic buying - club chairmen simply aren't going to allow that.

One club that does not need to strengthen too much is Liverpool, who beat us 3-0 on Saturday.


Confidence is one of the most important attributes in a striker's locker
I didn't think we played too badly but unfortunately we conceded an early goal.

Steven Gerrard was absolutely top draw for Gerrard Houllier's team.

On the pitch it is noticeable that he seems to have an aura about him and England missed his presence during the World Cup.

New signing El Hadji Diouf looked sharp and he seems to have developed an instant understanding with Michael Owen - which is massively important for a striker and spells trouble for the rest of the Premiership.

Strike partnerships are crucial - the value of two forwards who understand each other and link well cannot be underestimated.

Wednesday's opponents Chelsea are another club with a prolific partnership in Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

El Hadji Diouf in action against Southampton
Diouf links well with Michael Owen
Hasselbaink in particular has that selfish streak that you will find in all top strikers.

He shoots more often than not when he has a sight of goal and has total confidence in his own ability.

Confidence is one of the most important attributes in a striker's locker.

Obviously if you haven't got the footballing ability then you are not going to make it, but when it comes to the difference between winning and losing in a close game self-belief counts for a lot.

I try to work positive thoughts into my preparation.

For instance, in last season's game against Chelsea I scored twice as we came from behind to win 4-2 in what was one of my best games for Southampton.

The season before that I scored twice against Chelsea in the match at the Dell and I worked these positive thoughts into my preparation for Wednesday's match at St Mary's Stadium.

Lacking in confidence, though, has never really been a problem for me - I have a lot of self-belief.

Southampton striker James Beattie writes for BBC Sport Online


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