After a solitary success in their opening ten games left them rooted to the bottom of the table, seven points from their last three matches have moved Southampton up to the giddy heights of 17th position.
But while successive victories against QPR and Newcastle will have helped to sooth the relegation fears of Saints supporters, this is no time to relax.
The next five fixtures throw up three winnable home games for Southampton, starting with the visit of Norwich today and continuing with match-ups against Reading and Sunderland.
Carry on the form of the last couple of matches and a 1-1 draw with Swansea on November 10th – which brought to an end a run of four consecutive defeats and preceded those two morale-boosting wins – can be seen as the day Saints turned a corner and adapted to the challenge posed by the Premier League.
But revert to their form of earlier in the season and the campaign is sure to have a painful ending for Southampton – and perhaps a premature one for Adkins.
The news from the bookies is that Southampton look good to make it three wins on the trot this evening. Norwich have strung a six-game unbeaten run together in the league, taking the scalps of Arsenal, Stoke and Manchester United on the way, but haven’t won on the road since April.
Southampton are therefore priced up as 91/100 favourites, with the draw at 5/2 and an away win at 14/5.
But as impressive as the Saints’ win over Newcastle at the weekend was, odds-on for a follow-up victory against Norwich looks a touch on the short side to me. Wigan, Fulham and Swansea have all picked up points at St Mary’s this season, which indicates a home success is far from a banker.
With Norwich proving difficult to beat it will therefore take a more tempting price to get me to bet on a home win, although that’s not to say I’m rushing to back the Canaries.
Their away form takes this option out of the running so the draw looks the play in the 3Way market, although I’ll be looking elsewhere for value in this one.
Southampton’s early-season form earned them a well-earned reputation for being involved in games with plenty of goals and even now they are third in a table ranking teams in terms of the number of times their matches have featured over 2.5 goals.
But look beyond the fact that Southampton’s first nine league games of the season featured 40 goals and a different picture starts to emerge.
Three of their last four league games have seen under 2.5 goals and, given Norwich’s recent run of results, betting on a thriller suddenly appears a less appealing prospect.
They might have conceded five on the opening day to Fulham and five more when Liverpool played at Carrow Road at the end of September, but the Canaries’ last six league games have featured a combined total of just seven goals.
Furthermore, they have kept four clean sheets in this run, including in their last away match at the Madejski, when they held Reading to a goalless draw.
Add into the mix the fact that Norwich’s chief goal threat Grant Holt hasn’t scored in any of his last six matches and evens on under 2.5 goals looks a much better price than the 3/4 on over 2.5 goals, and that’s where my money will be going on this one.